The Insanity Plea
By Larry D. Thompson
Dan Little has suffered paranoid schizophrenia for years. When he’s arrested for murder, he calls his younger brother for assistance. A lawyer in Houston, Wayne reluctantly steps in for the defense. With a former basketball star turned attorney, a computer hacker and another partner, Wayne starts gathering materials for an insanity defense. The opposition isn’t sitting still. The killer is still out there…and the star witness for the prosecution.
I didn’t reveal any spoilers here since you know who the bad guy is right away. This is good standard courtroom thriller with a hard look at mental illness.
Wayne Little: civil trial lawyer, once a prosecutor, drives a Nissan Armada, lean, muscular, black hair, gray eyes, 6’4”, played basketball in high school, attended Texas University the University of Houston, dad dead
Dan Little: Wayne’s older half brother, former lawyer, suffers from schizophrenia, played football in high school, attended UT law, divorced
Duke Romack: black, lawyer, former NBA player, 6’10”, drives a Lincoln Navigator
Claudia Jackson: black, lawyer who works with Little, Duke’s girlfriend, Harvard Law,
Rita Contreras: 28, 5’4”, black hair, second generation Mexican, attended University of Houston, Master in computer science, lives next door to Wayne, former private investigator
Frederick Parke: early 50s, sandy blond hair, criminal profiler, likes skiing, owns a Hummer and a Corvette, holds a doctorate, 6′ tall, teaches at the University of Colorado
Katherine Rasmussen: assistant district attorney, fundamentalist Christian, stocky, gray hair, round face
Harry Klein: mid fifties, Little’s former employer, District Attorney, large frame
Too many books have characters who blend. Here we have a nice cross section of ethnic and gender blends. Yes, most of Little’s associates are lawyers, but each comes from a different background.
Pretty good voices from each of the characters. Some of the sentences seem a bit forced or trite, but it’s not too bad. Conversations stay on point, don’t wander.
Relatively short chapters. A bit of, but not much, profanity. Omniscient POV. There were no real twists or surprises and I hoped for something. Pretty even keel throughout. Good tension with the killer. Sometimes, internal dialogue ran long and sounded unnatural. A few minor grammar errors but nothing distracting. As mentioned above, this is solid story with some fine characters.