McInnis mines his years of experience as a trial lawyer to bring a high level of reality to the trial prep and courtroom scenes. He has a talent for making the minutiae of trial work interesting, as when Hawke and his associates plan how they will use certain questions to impanel a sympathetic jury without upsetting the judge. McInnis also explores the power—and limits—of expert testimony as Hawke chips away at a distinguished DNA expert in a fascinating exchange. Nor is the personal side neglected, as Hawke and his staff bicker when trial tensions ratchet up.
The trial centers on the DNA of identical twins. McInnis gives the trope a fresh twist with the "chimera” idea, a complex but certainly unique and memorable situation to power a thriller. Thoughtful scientific discussion permeates the book, especially the strategic discussion of how Hawke will explain it to the jury. While most of the suspense centers on the courtroom, the finale shows Hawke can also be an effective action hero–and, fortunately, leaves open the possibility for more Hawke adventures.
Takeaway: A scrappy lawyer must use sophisticated science, and his fists, to aid a client.
Great for fans of: Scott Turow, Phillip Margolin.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: A-