by Dennis Carstens
In the third Marc Kadella legal mystery, an adorable—and photogenic—two-year-old girl is kidnapped, and, when her remains are found, her twenty-two-year-old widowed mother Brittany is charged with her murder. But before she can even be charged she’s been tried and convicted by the media, at the center of which is Melinda Pace, a cynical, mostly-functioning alcoholic Minneapolis television personality with a “legal news” show called The Court Reporter. Not even in the alternative universe of television news could she be described as a reporter, since she makes no attempt at or pretense of presenting the truth, or even the facts. She does do a great job of producing through-the-roof ratings and whipping the public into a frenzy—with tragic consequences.
Marc is brought into the case early on, before it’s clear it will erupt into a media circus that brings out every goofball, crackpot, and member of the aluminum foil helmet club, along with a publicity-hungry state attorney general.
The prosecution feeds the media monster by painting Brittany as a neglectful mother who got rid of her child because motherhood interfered with her partying.
Marc throws himself heart and soul into saving Brittany from the maw of media justice, and all his associates rally to support him in any way they can. Gorgeous P.I. Maddy Rivers, who is on the case 24/7, reveals a different side as she becomes a sort of big sister to Brittany, providing the TLC that might have kept Brittany out of this mess if she’d gotten it from her controlling mother. Marc’s lady love Judge Margaret Tennant is, as always, sensitive to the needs of an attorney in the throes of a huge case and, as always, eager to meet those needs.
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Category: Thrillers – Legal