Kunati, Apr 2008, $24.95
In Texas Jane Nelson was a loving wife and mother when she suddenly drowned her two and a half years old son Simon and almost killed the lad’s twin sister Sarah. She is charged with the homicide, but found not guilty by reason of insanity. The prosecutor goes after Jane’s husband devastated Tom saying that he should have known what his wife was capable of doing and thereby failed to protect his children. He was not just an accessory; he by inactivity abetted the murder.
The media hangs Tom; his academic peers blame Tom, the public malign Tom. All need a scapegoat and the lunatic mom is considered too deranged whereas Tom is terific for the role. However, his lawyer Dave plans to make a reasonable doubt defense based on JANEOLOGY that insists her DNA has violence imprinted on it. Jane’s psychic relative, Mariah Hernandez assists the defense by looking into Jane’s past and that of her antecedents.
This is a fascinating legal thriller with some paranormal elements that is at its best when the focus is on an anguished Tom outside the courtroom. The story line is fast-paced and gripping as readers will want to know what caused Jane to kill her son and attempt to kill her daughter; Mariah’s visions provide insight into the motives though admittedly some readers will find that gimmicky. However, the big issue is having the DA force Tom to testify seems inappropriate as he has Fifth Amendment rights that allow his side to determine whether they want him on the stand or not. Still this is an interesting look at the causes and effect of a horrific act.