By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Updated August 02, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

When an ambitious, corrupt California senator is murdered in San Francisco, a brilliant but naive Oregon lawyer takes on the defense of the poor African American unjustly accused of the crime. The main problem with the novel can be found in the first line of this review: The story is so filled with cliches and so lacking in fully considered characters that it’s more of a speed read to find out who did it than an interesting path of discovery. While the plot certainly moves along and Buffa can no doubt tell a good story, his people skills could use some work.