From Publishers Weekly
In this gripping legal thriller from Hoffman (Retribution), Julia Vacanti, a 28-year-old Miami assistant state attorney, helps to prosecute David Marquette, a Miami surgeon accused of stabbing his wife and their two older children as well as smothering their baby in Coral Gables, Fla. David's plea of insanity finds the prosecution team working double time to prove he's just a clever psychopath faking schizophrenia to avoid Florida's death penalty. Meanwhile, the conflicted Julia obsesses about her schizophrenic brother, Andrew Citro, who was convicted of the fatal stabbings of their parents when she was 13. When Julia learns Andrew was committed to a center for the criminally insane in New York, she re-establishes contact, which results in some major courtoom drama. Hoffman's intriguing plot snakes around both cases as Julia questions her own mental health and a future only a nail-biting sequel might fully answer.
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Julia Vacanti may seem to be an up-and-coming Florida prosecutor, but dig a little deeper, and it’s easy to see she’s living a lie—or at least half a lie, the half that pretends her parents weren’t murdered by her brother when she was a child. Then along comes the case of a lifetime: a prominent young doctor is accused of brutally murdering his wife and his three young children. The state claims the man is a monster. The defense claims he’s suffering from schizophrenia—the same illness, Julia realizes, that was behind her brother’s crime. Could the state, which will ask for the death penalty, be denying justice to a victim of mental illness? Courtroom dramatics are less the point here than in many legal thrillers. It’s Julia’s torment as she comes to terms with her family’s tragic history and Hoffman’s dissection of the legal and moral arguments surrounding the insanity plea that push things along—and the questions raised will linger long after the story ends. —Stephanie Zvirin