by Larry D. Thompson
Publisher: Story Merchant Books
Released: May 6th 2014
Genre: Fiction- Adult: Legal Thriller
How I got it: Received a copy from the author
A young nurse is savagely killed during a pre-dawn run on Galveston’s seawall. The murderer slices her running shorts from her body as his trophy and tosses the body over the wall to the rocks below. As dawn breaks, a bedraggled street person, wearing four layers of old, tattered clothes, emerges from the end of the jetty, waving his arms and talking to people only he hears. He trips over the body, checks for a pulse and, instead, finds a diamond bracelet which he puts in his pocket. He hurries across the street, heading for breakfast at the Salvation Army two blocks away, leaving his footprints in blood as he goes.
Wayne Little, former Galveston prosecutor and now Houston trial lawyer, learns that his older brother has been charged with capital murder for the killing. At first he refuses to be dragged back into his brother’s life. Once a brilliant lawyer, Dan’s paranoid schizophrenia had captured his mind, estranging everyone including Wayne. Finally giving in to pleas from his mother, Wayne enlists the help of his best friend, Duke Romack, former NBA star turned criminal lawyer. When Wayne and Duke review the evidence, they conclude that Dan’s chances are slim. They either find the killer or win a plea of insanity since the prosecution’s case is air tight. The former may be a mission impossible since the killer is the most brilliant, devious and cruel fictional murderer since Hannibal Lecter. The chances of winning an insanity plea are equally grim.
It will take the combined skills of the two lawyers along with those of Duke’s girlfriend, Claudia, a brilliant appellate lawyer, and Rita Contreras, Wayne’s next door neighbor and computer hacker extraordinaire, to attempt to unravel the mystery of the serial killer before the clock clicks down to a guilty verdict for Dan.
The Insanity Plea is a spell-binding tale of four amateur sleuths who must find, track and trap a serial killer as they prepare for and defend Wayne brother who is trapped in a mind like that of John Nash, Russell Crowe’s character in A Beautiful Mind.
Combining legal thriller with tracking a serial killer, Thompson once again takes the reader on a helluva ride, right up to the last page and sentence.
Review: In a way this book was more heartwrenching than thrilling. I found Dan's tale of combating mental illness much more riviting than stalking the serial killer.
Dan is a brilliant and troubled man, he rides the roll-a-coaster of mental illness dealing with his problems getting medicated only to spiral into his own private hell. He's the perfect scapegoat. With what they believe is an airtight case, all Wayne can thing to do to save his brother is beg for the insanity plea. Lets face it Dan is nutter that a peanut, but as the new meds kick in his brillance comes to the surface. Wayne is also a great attorney as is his friend Duke. The problem is they assume that Dan is guilty and just roll with it. Even though Wayne has his doubts he really doesn't seem to focus on proving his brother not guilty. Rita is really the one who comes through for him.
While I found the plot riveting it was more a courtroom drama than a serial killer thriller. Yes there are bits with the killer doing his thing, but it felt like side fodder. The ending was to neat for my tastes as well. Over all this was a good book but had little things that bugged me.