The fourth Leo Maxwell legal thriller starts on a high note: Maxwell and his partner at the San Francisco public defender's office, Jordan Walker, secure an acquittal for an accused rapist, Randall Rodriguez, a man whose history of confessing to crimes he didn't commit convinced Leo and Jordan that he was innocent. Soon after, though, Jordan is raped and murdered, and Rodriguez confesses to the crime. Leo believes he's innocent again, but his bosses order him not to assist in the man's defense. Leo takes a leave of absence, vowing to pursue the investigation on his own time; he has his own theory about Jordan's murder, but can he prove it? Or will Leo himself wind up fingered for the crime? Gripping, dramatically written, and very suspenseful, this novel will have strong appeal for legal-thriller fans, especially followers of John Lescroart's Dismas Hardy series. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.