|Jake Norris is a successful writer. His modus operandi is to select a high profile criminal trial, research it well and, through his work, bring it vividly before the public. So far his works have been popular, and in one instance resulted in a new trial with an acquittal.
His next book is centered in a small southern town in Oklahoma where the "good old boy system" is alive and well. Some twenty years prior, Charlie Baker had been convicted of brutally murdering Jillian Franklin and her husband. The crime garnered more interest because their three year old had been left sitting in the house with the bodies until Charlie's ten-year-old son found them. Charlie’s court appointed counsel presented no evidence but managed to save him from a capital conviction.
The good old boys are Senator Riordan, retired Judge Markham and the chief of police who have been ruling the town for years. Jake's search starts in the office of the Senator where he meets Kylie, the Senator's daughter, who has devoted her life and career to helping her father's political career.
Kyle is unaware that Jake has a driving interest in this book, as Charlie Baker is his father. Jake's name change is due to his mother's remarriage and his subsequent adoption but he has maintained contact with his father and is convinced of his innocence.
Jake runs immediately into every stumbling block possible. His first meeting with Kylie does not go well as she is naturally protective of her father. The police begin following Jake, citing him for offenses real and imagined, which all succeed in drawing Kylie's attention to the inequities Jake is suffering.
Jake is attractive, the chemistry is there and what starts out as a quest for the truth for her turns out to be slightly more dangerous than she anticipated. Thrown together this way provides the opportunities for their relation to grow to the sizzling point.
The outcome of the story is very predictable, but what makes it worth the reading is the gentle style Pappano has in the fashioning of her characters, the use of locale and dialog in moving the story along, and the artful way she has of drawing characters together.