|Kate Wilhelm: Desperate Measures|
Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover), ISBN: 0-312-27663-X
Lawyer Barbara Holloway ranks at the top of my favorite fictional character list. Her father Frank rests one step below her, but only because there wasn't enough room for both of them on the same line. They make a great pair. Both display wisdom, cunning, intelligence, courage and caring. But this time it may not be enough -- not if circumstances force them go head to head to protect their clients in a murder trial.
The victim -- God-fearing, hardworking Gus Marchand -- made a few enemies over the course of his life. But can Alex Feldman, bright but terribly deformed, be one of them, or did someone target Alex because of his looks alone? Is Alex the monster the town believes him to be? Barbara doesn't think so, but can she prove it in a court of law?Frank's client -- highly respected school principal Hilde Franz -- also tangled with Marchand. In addition, Franz possesses motive and opportunity, and Frank doesn't intend her to be found guilty either.
With a multi-layered plot that unfolds logically and in a believable manner, Desperate Measures delivers large doses of excitement, action and verisimilitude. Never arrogant or condescending, the characters -- major and minor -- boast lives, disappointments, problems, opinions and quirks. These facets of their respective personalities all mesh well, despite their private woes.
An author without peer, Kate Wilhelm's many novels never fail to live up to my high expectations. This first-rate courtroom drama proves once again just how good Wilhelm is.
Patricia Lucas White
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