- Steel City Confidential
Clients hide things from their lawyers all the time. Pam Wilson makes it an art form.
Pam’s been on the run from the law for years and she was getting away with it. The statute of limitations ran out on most of her crimes. For her spouse Charlotte? Not so much. Though they were aging, they looked forward to enjoying their golden years and, hopefully, forgetting about the past.
Life got complicated when Charlotte became gravely ill, their daughter got pregnant with the child of a married man…a married man someone took shots at from a rare motorcycle Pam happens to own. When the man was shot again and killed in his office at Pitt a couple of weeks later, the police found all signs pointing to Pam.
Rochelle ‘Ro’ Rabinowitz, a second-generation Pittsburgh lawyer, and her little firm take on Pam’s case pro-bono. Ro thinks it’s a slam dunk for the defense and hands the case off to her new associate and – she hopes – her future partner in the firm, Dominique, to get her feet wet in a courtroom. Clients are never completely honest with their lawyers and Ro and Dominque soon learn this one is no exception.
Slam dunk? More like a pipe dream…
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 1
Romantic Content: 2
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Lesbian
Protagonist 1 Age: 46-65
Protagonist 2 Age: 46-65
Protagonist 3 Age: 66+
Tropes: Criminals & Outlaws, Families/Raising Kids, Married Life, Moral Failure, Villain to Hero
Word Count: 95000
Setting: Pittsburgh, PA USA
Languages Available: English
Rochelle Rabinowitz, ‘Ro’ to her family and friends, put her hand on her client’s shoulder, half turning her. She looked her in the eyes and reminded her one last time, “You don’t have to do this. You can still take the fifth.”
Pamela Wilson broke the eye contact and looked down as she tugged at the sleeves of her jacket. “I know, but it’s the only way.” She rose and walked on steady feet toward the witness stand.
“Please raise your right hand and repeat after me,” the bailiff intoned. “I swear that the evidence that I shall give, shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.”
A lump formed in her throat. She swallowed hard and repeated the oath, then, hands on the rail, sat down and perched on the edge of the witness seat.
Ro rose at the defense counsel table and addressed her client. “Please state your name for the record.”
Forgetting all courtroom decorum, Ro whirled on a heel and shot the prosecuting attorney, Declan Powers, a bewildered look.
“Mr. Powers?” The judge was confused. “Is there something I should know?”
“Counsel asked the witness her name, Your Honor. The witness is not telling the truth.”
Ro sighed and started to move around the edge of the table.
“It’s all right Judge…Your Honor,” Pamela interrupted. “I swore to tell the truth, and I will.” She swallowed again, positioned herself a little deeper into the chair, and prepared to tell the story she’d been hiding for twenty-eight years.
Ro nodded to her client, to the judge, and then took her seat. She knew Judge Marsilio was as intrigued as the jury, sitting up in their chairs, all eyes glued to the witness box. She wasn’t going to be needed for at least a couple of minutes.
“My real name is Thelma Dickenson. Most people…everyone who knew me back in my former life thinks I died in a fiery car accident in 1991 when me and my best friend drove in her car over the rim of the Grand Canyon. I didn’t. I didn’t die, that is. Here I am. I didn’t die that day, and I didn’t commit this crime I’m being…”
“Sustained. Stick to the questions being asked, Ms…Dickenson, is it?”
Thelma nodded. “Yes.”
“Speak up for the record, please.”
“Yes. Thelma Dickinson. I…I apologize, Your Honor.” Her eyes darted to Ro. “What was the question?”
Ro got back on her feet. “I request a recess to confer with my client.”
“Objection!” Powers called out. “Counsel has had plenty of time to confer with Ms. Dickinson. The witness is speaking of her own free will.”COLLAPSE
Steel City Confidential’ by Anne Hagan is a triumph. It’s a fascinating story, well-told and with characters readers will warm to immediately. Ro Rabinowitz, a Pittsburgh lawyer takes on the case of Pamela Wilson, a woman in her sixties charged with the murder of a college professor who got her daughter pregnant. She’s confident that the case can be won, but there are complications – and a story from the past that Pam’s not telling. It’s not going to be that simple. I was drawn in from the start with a revelation of something I’ve known and loved for many years. Characters from the past . It was a brilliant set up. There are plenty of surprises that will have readers jumping for joy – but that’s all I’ll say. I won’t divulge any spoilers. But they are stunning. Now, I know that Anne Hagan writes great mysteries, but she has really found her forte with this legal thriller. I am so glad that this is book one in a new series for her. I was intrigued from the start and it just kept getting better and better. She skilfully weaves a complex tale of secrets and revelations and her characters are likeable and I want to find out more about them. Ro is a great mentor, a principled and caring lawyer. I liked her associate Dominique too. I can see her developing well in the future. Oh, and for aficionados of Ms Hagan’s Morelville Mysteries Series, a certain name pops up that will have you smiling. The book is brilliantly done and if Hollywood has any sense then this would be made into a movie – because I can guarantee there will be a huge audience for this particular story. Highly recommended.