When Gwynn Reznick’s best friend is brutally murdered, she joins forces with an investigation team to hunt down the assassin As the team digs deeper, they discover a trail of suspicious deaths and begin to unravel a sinister plot that threatens a catastrophic oil and gas disaster. Will they solve the crime before it is too late?
At sleepy Fort Leavenworth, Kansas the commanding general’s wife Bunny Harris is decapitated with the Arabic word for “dust” scrawled in her blood over the bed.
JACK GARRETT (40s), a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer and former special ops soldiers reports for reserve duty at the fort and finds his orders are changed and he is working for CAMERON WELLS (40s), an ambitious attorney who began her career in military intelligence.
Two days later military judge FRANK O’CONNOR (50’s) is charged with the rape and murder of Bunny. He requests that Garrett defend him, and Garrett is placed on active duty.
Wells is put on O’Connor’s trial to spy on Garrett. O’Connor admits to an affair with Bunny and that she enjoyed rough, painful sex including whipping and strangulation.
The CIA brings in PHILLIP RUBIE (50s) and his daughter SIMONE (20s). The pair kidnap Garrett’s son then release him with a message to back off the case. Garrett and Wells are drawn closer over this incident and start to have a romantic relationship.
Evidence points to the general’s involvement in war crimes by killing Iraqi POWs with a nerve agent called “dust.” A reporter tells Garrett that he believes Bunny was killed with this nerve agent. Bunny’s body is exhumed and she melts out of her casket.
The trial begins and the prosecutor receives a CD with Bunny and O’Connor at an S&M club where O’Connor pretends to cut off her head with a machete. O’Connor is offered a deal and refuses.
Simone tells Wells she has evidence of O’Connor’s innocence. Rubie attempts to kill Garrett and Wells at the meeting, but Wells fights and subdues Rubie. Garrett tortures Rubie and he says that Wells knows who the real killer is.
Rubie is left to die but Simone finds him when he activates a GPS chip. His dying request is to kill them all. Simone decapitates the general and leaves a message written in Arabic: “Dust to Dust.” O’Connor is released from jail, since it appears Bunny’s killer is still at large. At a press conference with O’Connor, Wells and Garrett, Simone, disguised as a reporter, attempts to shoot Garrett and Wells. Simone is killed and authorities claim she is Bunny’s killer.
Wells and Garrett return to California and start a new life. Garrett’s son finds a sword in Wells’ footlocker with blood and hair on it. The sword belonged to Wells’ father and was given to him by Bunny. Wells confesses to the killing because the general discovered Bunny was having an affair with her father, and general sent him on a secret mission where her father was killed. Wells tells Garret to forget about what was found and go on, but Garrett can’t
Garrett turns his back and walks out of the house.
The Guilty is the story of Robert Bratt, once a high-flying defense attorney, but now haunted by doubts over his chosen profession and the violent people he represents. He is hired to defend Marlon Small, a young tough who is accused of a brutal double-slaying. The accused’s mother is a devoutly religious woman who is certain that her son has been falsely accused, and looks to Bratt to save him. Despite the mother’s protestations, Bratt’s instincts tell him that Small’s airtight alibi is too good to be true, and he is very probably guilty. But Bratt’s drive to succeed, combined with his sympathy for the heartbroken mother, push him to defend the young man.
Can he continue to turn a blind eye to what his client has done, and manipulate the truth as he so often has in the past, while no longer being able to look himself in the mirror?
Loosely based on a multiple-murder that shocked Montreal in the 1990s, this riveting story pulls the reader into the inner workings of a murder trial, and reveals what one lawyer must do when he has to defend “The Guilty.”
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I practiced criminal law for nearly a quarter of a century in Montreal. During that time I saw many honest, ethical lawyers who worked hard to guarantee that anyone accused of a crime got a fair trial. These were honorable men and women who took their obligation to defend their clients to the best of their abilities very seriously. But, occasionally, I would meet a lawyer who would gladly cross the ethical line, as long as he, and his client, came out winners. And, sometimes, in the heat of battle, and under the pressures that a major trial can create, even usually honest lawyers have made decisions that they later came to regret. In writing this book I pictured the main character, Robert Bratt, as someone who is essentially a good person, but whose need to win has led him to forget his inherent honesty, and driven him to do things that he wished he hadn’t. I felt that this kind of character would be more interesting to readers than the usual heroic, selfless lawyers that abound in books.
I based the facts of the crime and trial on a case I defended earlier in my legal practice. I can honestly say I have little in common with the lead character, be that his strengths or his weaknesses.