A woman lawyer returns to her family she has not seen for 20 years. She is Caroline Masters, the daughter of a New Hampshire judge, who agrees to defend her niece, accused of murder. All the ghosts from her past rise up, including the memory of the death of her mother and a man with whom she had an affair. A family drama by the author of Eyes of a Child.
Also, Patterson has, at least in this book, two narrative tics that I found increasingly distracting. First, the adverb "utterly," which should probably never be used, is used here too frequently. Characters stand "utterly still," or the night is "utterly quiet." Once during a novel, OK. Twice, perhaps. More than that is utterly too much. But worse, many, many times during the novel, at least two dozen, the protagonist realizes things, or impressions come to her, "all at once." As in, "All at once, Caroline realized that this girl was looking at life in a new way." "All at once, it came to Caroline that the prosecutor knew no more than she did about . . . " That sort of stuff drives me nuts and drains away my ability to enjoy a book.
The mystery and even the characters were interesting, although I must say I had the ending pegged pretty early on. Overall, for me, an OK murder myster. For my taste, Patterson needed to tighten up the flashbacks and tidy up those cliches. Hard core mystery genre buffs may be more forgiving than I of these flaws, though.
A young man is brutally murdered. His distraught girlfriend is the prime suspect. Her aunt, Caroline Masters, about to take up a top job in the US Court of Appeals, decides to defend the young woman in the murder trial. But this will be Caroline's first contact with her family in almost twenty years, and as she prepares the case and goes through the trial, long forgotten secrets re-surface, pitting Caroline against not only the police and prosecution, but also against her father (a retired judge), her sister and the memory of her young self when she, too, lost a boyfriend in suspicious circumstances.