5 stars out of 5
Just like its two predecessors, I loved this book. So much, in fact, that I really hope the author reconsiders the three-book series and brings readers more tales about super-cool but flawed attorney Samantha Brinkman.
For those thinking about diving in, I will say the water will be more comfortable if you start at the beginning (Blood Defense followed by Moral Defense). I had no trouble following the goings-on in any of the books including this one, but I'm also sure I got far more out of each one just because I read the one that came before. And lest I forget, many thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for an honest review (as was the case with the first two books as well).
This one begins as college freshman Alicia, daughter of well-known attorney Graham Hutchins, is murdered. Not long before that, she dumped her abusive boyfriend Roan - and apparently he retaliated by posting online extremely personal photos she'd taken of herself for his eyes only. Nothing screams payback more than a spurned lover, so it's not surprising that Roan is considered the prime suspect. But then Roan is found dead - an apparent suicide. His mother insists he was murdered, though, and the coroner's report is inconclusive. Alicia's father had every reason to avenge his beloved daughter's death, so he suddenly finds himself in the crosshairs of the police.
Samantha, better known as Sam, knows Graham; when he calls for help, she agrees despite not really wanting to get involved in the case (he's a well-heeled customer and she's having a tough time paying the bills, so she can't afford to say no). Soon enough, she and her tech-savvy, hunky investigator Alex are up to their eyeballs in pot-smoking college students, secret lives of the rich and famous and pulling out every trick in their bags (some legal, some not so much) to ferret out evidence sufficient to get their client off the hook. In fact, one of the most interesting components of this series is being privvy to the legal goings-on inside and outside a courtroom - told through the eyes of someone who knows (we all remember the infamous trial of former NFL star O.J. Simpson, at which the author was the lead prosecutor, don't we )?
As if that weren't enough, Sam gets a very unwelcome visit from a big-time gangster from her past (and from past books in this series). He's privy to one of Sam's big secrets, and he's not above calling in a chit now and again when it suits his purpose. This time, he wants Sam, with help from her police officer father Dale, to locate the only witness to a murder committed by one of his relatives. Sam is convinced that her success will mean certain death for the witness, who's set to spill the beans at that relative's trial. But if she refuses, it just as certainly will mean her own death - so saying no just isn't an option.
Can she juggle both cases and come out a winner (or at least still alive)? Everything is resolved in the end, but of course I won't reveal how it all plays out. Now, the only question for me to ask is can we have more of Samantha? Please?
Snap Judgment by Marcia Clark (Thomas & Mercer, August 2017); 462 pp.