Books

by Rose Connors
Scribner, January 2002, $

A fresh take on the criminal justice system from a true insider with a strong voice. This is an auspicious first novel by a savvy, experienced, trial attorney. Rose Connors has got it all really right: from her tough but vulnerable protagonist, Cape Cod ADA Marty Nickerson, and her completely believable relationship with an ex-husband and a teen-aged son, to a small select cast of interesting supporting characters.

We're in Barnstable County on Cape Cod when the novel opens and Nickerson is deep in the final stages of a rock-solid case against a vicious killer. The case is clean, the evidence huge, even the public defender agrees. All seems eminently satisfactory and the jury finds the man, Manuel Rodrigez, guilty. But then another body, is found under disturbingly similar circumstances to that of the first. Evidence points to the same killer. Copycat? Faced with a politically astute boss working hard to become the first female DA in the county, Nickerson can't get Rodrigez's case reexamined. She goes way out on a limb in fairness to her own sense of justice and right. What happens next is surprising.

We have a fine sense of place in this novel and the characters seem to be completely comfortable. They belong in these settings. Credibility is never strained beyond the breaking point. The dialogue is crisp and centered. The pace is measured and the structure of the novel is taut. There is a relentless feeling, particularly in the last half of the book, which seems to take hold of the reader in a way that many novels are unable to exert. Add a handsome dust-jacket, good production and careful editing to a thoughtful, swell-written provocative novel, and you have an outstanding debut.

Carl Brookins

A fresh take on the criminal justice system from a true insider with a strong voice. This is an auspicious first novel by a savvy, experienced, trial attorney. Rose Connors has got it all really right: from her tough but vulnerable protagonist, Cape Cod ADA Marty Nickerson, and her completely believable relationship with an ex-husband and a teen-aged son, to a small select cast of interesting supporting characters.

We're in Barnstable County on Cape Cod when the novel opens and Nickerson is deep in the final stages of a rock-solid case against a vicious killer. The case is clean, the evidence huge, even the public defender agrees. All seems eminently satisfactory and the jury finds the man, Manuel Rodrigez, guilty. But then another body, is found under disturbingly similar circumstances to that of the first. Evidence points to the same killer. Copycat? Faced with a politically astute boss working hard to become the first female DA in the county, Nickerson can't get Rodrigez's case reexamined. She goes way out on a limb in fairness to her own sense of justice and right. What happens next is surprising.

We have a fine sense of place in this novel and the characters seem to be completely comfortable. They belong in these settings. Credibility is never strained beyond the breaking point. The dialogue is crisp and centered. The pace is measured and the structure of the novel is taut. There is a relentless feeling, particularly in the last half of the book, which seems to take hold of the reader in a way that many novels are unable to exert. Add a handsome dust-jacket, good production and careful editing to a thoughtful, swell-written provocative novel, and you have an outstanding debut.

Xav ID 1
545

by Rose Connors
Scribner, January 2002, $

Connors
January 2002
absolute-certainty
Scribner