Reviewed By: Harriet Klausner
Amazon US PB Amazon Canada PB
Class/Genre: Mystery Legal Setting Thriller
Series: Lou Mason # 4
Pinnacle, Jan 2005, $6.99, 408 pp.
Death row inmate Ryan Kowalczyk tells Father Steve that he does not believe in God or why would he be here when he is innocent. Ryan’s co-defendant Whitney King turned state’s evidence insisting that his accomplice killed Graham and Elizabeth Burns fifteen years ago. While Whitney was acquitted of the crime, Ryan was convicted. Witnesses to the execution include attorney Lou Mason, police officer Harry Ryman, Nick the eighteen years old son of the victims and Ryan’s mother Mary. Ryan’s last word to his mother is “innocent”.
Afterward Nick shakes Lou as they discuss the mutual deaths of their parents when they were both three with the former insisting adults hide the truth behind the façade of an alleged accident. Lou wonders if that happened to him. The next day Mary hires Lou because she believes her son is innocent and wants the governor to exonerate Ryan. Nick hires Lou to prove that Whitney was involved. Lou uncovers shocking information that makes him wonder if the state committed a wrongful death (obviously this is not Bush’s no mistake Texas). Now someone wants Lou dead to end his investigation.
The latest Mason case is a terrific investigative thriller that makes a clear plea on the use of capital punishment; one error is one too many as there is no way of correcting a DEADLOCKED mistake. Lou is at his hardboiled best making inquiries into the Burns murders while also questioning the deaths of his own parents. The story line is action-packed yet challenges the use of one person turning state evidence as enough for a conviction (even the bible says two witnesses). Joel Goldman makes a strong argument for sanity in death row cases before others are DEADLOCKED inside a fantastic mystery.
Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Harriet Klausner