We gave it a B
Arch Gold has a problem — and it’s not his absurd name. NYC’s top public defender is assigned the case of Damon Tucker, a hotheaded black college kid up for a murder-robbery he didn’t commit, the state’s first death penalty trial in decades. But that’s not his problem either. Gold’s problem is that he’s a smart, wry, no-nonsense narrator thrown into the banal vagaries of a sub-Grisham legal thriller. Heilbrun, himself a public defender since 1989 (natch), nimbly constructs Tucker’s case, making even the most mundane rules of evidence seem compelling. But when he wades into pulpier territory — the computer disc stolen from the desk of the shrink who may have been killed by the vaguely dangerous CEO — Heilbrun perpetrates gross negligence against his hero.