A hideously deformed man is suspected of murder and a female attorney agrees to defend him. The opposing attorney for another suspect turns out to be her father and she doesn't know if she can win against him.
From Publisher's Weekly: Holloway's latest client is a brilliant young man named Alex Feldman, who has been left hideously deformed by a birth defect. He is accused of killing his next-door neighbor, Gus Marchand, a tyrannical religious zealot who saw Alex's deformity as the mark of the devil. There is little evidence against him, but Marchand has created such hostility and fear toward Alex in their small, rural community that it seems likely he will be convicted on the basis of his appearance alone. What makes his situation even more desperate is that he was born with part of his brain exposed: since any blow to the head might kill him, a prison term probably would be a death sentence. But did Alex do it? There is a real possibility (which Alex himself admits) that he is psychopathic, but he wasn't the only one with a motive: the high school principal was also at odds with Marchand, and she is a close friend of Frank Holloway, Barbara's father and mentor. This is a real puzzler in which the smallest clues are important. Readers are given all the necessary facts and Alex is an excellent character. Wilhelm does a good job of conveying his anguish and isolation, and doesn't skimp on rounding out other characters, including Dr. Graham Minick, Alex's friend and protector.
Barbara Holloway has a reputation for taking on the toughest cases ... and winning them. But this time she is up against an unbeatable opponent--her father, the lawyer who taught her all she knows. She has to stay one step ahead of him if she has any hope of saving her client.
I have read several of Kate Wihelm's novels over the year, but somehow I missed this series featuring Oregon lawyer Barbara Holloway. I am definitely going to seek the other books in the series. Well written, well-plotted, with intriguing, developed characters. I found the solution to the mystery a little pat, but I certainly didn't guess "whodunit" until the reveal. I enjoyed the relationship between Barbara and her father, a fellow lawyer, and the developing (albeit somewhat unrealistic) romantic subplot. I am happy to recommend this to readers of legal mysteries.