BROWSE THROUGH : What the books are about

Hate Crime

Bernhardt sticks to his tried-and-true formula in his 13th novel to feature Tulsa defence attorney Ben Kincaid. An odious criminal defendant is foisted on Kincaid’s practice: Johnny Christensen, a hate-filled frat boy accused of beating a gay man to death outside a singles bar in a Chicago suburb. Despite Kincaid’s reluctance to take the case, he and partner Christina McCall put up the best criminal defence they can. Bernhardt introduces readers to a straight male prostitute named Charlie the Chicken, a poetry-reciting homicide cop, a Christian social organisation that opposes homosexuality above all else and a gay activist group that dabbles in courtroom executions and terrorism. Bernhardt places a premium on the plot twists, and his characters sometimes act in unlikely ways in service to the surprise. Bernhardt offers another good read, full of courtroom fireworks, double-crosses and even a bit of romance.

Dark Eye: A Novel...

From the mountain views beyond the Strip to the dingy dens of forbidden pleasure, Susan Pulaski loves Las Vegas. A woman who wears a gun at her side and her heart on a sleeve, Pulaski is the perfect fit for her city and her job: unravelling the minds of deviant personalities. Until a killer begins decorating Sin City with the horribly disfigured bodies of once beautiful young women... and Pulaski’s own demons go on a binge. Eight months after her cop husband’s death, her life is spinning out of control — just as her detective colleagues start searching for a serial killer who methodically stalks his female victims and plunges them into an orgy of terror. When a violent incident earns Pulaski a pink slip from the LVPD and a trip to detox, she’s out of the hunt altogether, so she begins to desperately try to regain her job, her reputation, and custody of the niece she’s been raising on her own. It seems hopeless, until Pulaski meets the one person who can lead her into the mind of a madman no one else can understand. She becomes the key player in a desperate hunt for a killer who believes he has found divine inspiration in the works of Edgar Allan Poe.

Death Row

Seven years before the central events of the novel, a gruesome family massacre puts food flavorist Ray Goldman on death row, despite Ben Kincaid’s vigorous defence, on the strength of the incriminating testimony of the 15-year-old sole survivor, Erin Faulkner. Seven years later, Goldman has been given a 30-day reprieve from lethal injection. A regretful Erin reappears in Kincaid’s office, confessing she was coerced by assertive DA Jack Bullock into making a positive ID in court. This development is just what the defence needs to free Goldman, but before she can testify, Erin is found dead, an apparent suicide victim. Foul play is immediately suspected, and Kincaid and his detective buddy Mike Morelli spring into action. Kincaid and Christina McCall desperately buy more time in court from spiteful Judge Derek and are spurred on when Erin’s friend Sheila Knight winds up dead in what looks like another suicide.

Murder One

It doesn’t seem possible that petite, blonde Keri Dalcanton could have stabbed police sergeant

Joe McNaughton 20 times, dragged his body to a public square in downtown Tulsa, chained the corpse naked to a fountain, and hog-tied him, breaking several of his bones before she cut off his penis, stuffed it in his mouth, and wrote “Faithless” across his chest in his own blood. But McNaughton’s friends on the force are convinced the stripper was responsible. When Ben Kincaid takes Keri’s case, they do everything they can to ensure the hero cop killer’s lawyer pays for her defence with his own blood, too. Ben is convinced Keri was framed. Beyond that, he’s a little bit in love with her. The “blue squeeze” put on him by the Tulsa PD does nothing to convince him he’s wrong, not even when he’s arrested and charged with complicity in McNaughton’s death. When the girlfriend of one of his staffers is attacked as she’s zeroing in on evidence that could free Keri, Ben plunges ahead with his defence, regardless of the danger it puts him in. Bernhardt’s trademark pacing and courtroom expertise deliver this legal thriller to a riveting conclusion, with a surprise ending that most readers won’t see coming.