Your typical small Southern town: murder, adultery, rape, incest, family poisonings, legal wheeling and dealing and a brand new judge sticking her fingers into all of it. What is not to like as long as you don't have to live there. In Chicago they just shoot them, our Southern gals are much more innovative-enjoy
Judge Deborah Knott's been appointed, and now needs to run to keep the office she really wants. She wants to keep a campaign promise to help build houses for battered women. Expecting muscle aches and pains, she doesn't expect a near rape and the murder of the attacker. Even worse, the murder weapon is her own hammer, and her fingerprints are on the murder weapon. Luckily, the cops don't seriously consider her a suspect. More an issue is keeping out of the newspaper the identity of the victim, and keeping her from feeling like a victim. She's a young member of Deborah's large family. The one wielding the hammer, who ultimately confesses to Deborah, not the police, is a long-time friend of the family, and a third girl is involved too. All three girls need help and counselling. The boys in the family, if they find out, will want to go after the guys the would-be rapist hung out with. Deborah wants to see justice done, while protecting the girls and helping them grow up. She makes some mistakes in the process, and that helps her grow up. I like books where characters grow, and like that Maron allows that to happen to Deborah and others in this sometimes uncomfortable book.
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