As a lifelong mystery fan and author, I've noticed that there seem to be a few patterns that repeat themselves constantly. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; sometimes readers find comfort in the familiar. Bill Durham, however, has managed to shatter the patterns and yet create characters that seem like the people next door. Max Friedman, a disillusioned New York lawyer, is driving through the Panhandle of Texas trying to reach Phoenix. His car, however, has other plans. It falls to pieces, and Max's wallet is rather thin. So instead of going on to Phoenix, he tries to give Amarillo a try.
He settles down, rents an apartment, adopts two kittens and secures a law license. He becomes a regular at a local pool halls, makes some new friends, and falls in love with the owner, Angel. But some of Angel's other customers are desperate, broke, and in need of money - and they don't know how to get it. Eventually, the ringleader browbeats some of his fellow pool enthusiasts into ripping off a grocery store. In the aftermath, in an argument over money, one of them kills another.
Max is assigned to defend the man who murdered his cohort. The rest of the story involves some moving passages showing how the families of the surviving crooks coped. Max must create a reasonable defense for a nasty and unrepentant criminal, whom everyone knows is guilty. The story that unfolds is amazing - and unlike any other thriller that I've ever read. I recommend this book highly. - Mary Devlin, author of MURDER ON THE CANTERBURY PILGRIMAGE and THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN