From those two sentences, you know the plot. Scott must defend Shawanda; his law firm pressures him to keep the dead guy's shameful secrets secret to protect the senator's campaign; Scott learns that he has a conscience, after all, and proves that someone else committed the murder in a magnificently hokey Perry Mason moment.
You could, in fact, probably write this book yourself, and you'd almost certainly do a better job of it than Gimenez has done, because you wouldn't do any of the following:
- Have the judge in Shawanda's trial appoint Scott, a corporate lawyer with no criminal defense experience at all, to serve as Shawanda's attorney. (And if you did do this, surely you would at least try to provide some sort of clever double-talk rationalization for such a ludicrous thing; Gimenez can't be bothered.)
- Use To Kill a Mockingbird as lazy shorthand to convince us that Scott is really a decent guy; why, it's his favorite book and his daughter's even named Barbara Boo Fenney. (And if you don't know that the "A." in "A. Scott" is for "Atticus" long before Gimenez gets around to telling us, then you may just be too damned stupid to live.)
- Make Shawanda a horribly offensive African-American stereotype, the kind of ignorant black woman who has a daughter named Pajamae (which is pronounced "pah-zhu-MAY").
- Have the resolution of the trial turn on an observation that the police could not in a million years be stupid enough to miss.
This is a mess of a book, and it was only the jaw-dropping embarrassing crappiness of it all that kept me going; on some level, I was in awe of Gimenez' achievement here. Not a page goes by without a stupid plot twist, a racist characterization, or a magnificently dimwitted line of dialogue. It's not just a bad book, it's a spectacularly bad book.