Can the witness protection program keep you safe from your past? Others decide one man’s fate as he comes face to face with some harsh realities, as his actions will now speak much louder than his words. Nothing that Anthony Xavier Ricci could do or say would prevent the end result of what others saw. Working as a cop and freelancing for a drug lord was supposed to supplement his salary in order to help him enjoy the finer things in life. But, sometimes are actions are monitored and our thoughts distracting us when the cameras are rolling, the pictures are taken and we are the stars of the movie. Anthony was employed by a man named Mr. Tedeschi a powerful drug lord who hated when someone stole from him. James Di Marco would learn what happens when he takes things too far. But, what happens as a result of completing his assignment will definitely or should give anyone thinking of doing the same much pause for thought. But, there is much more as one storage locker, one key, a shoebox filled with money and an arsenal of guns tell a story that Anthony cannot deny. So, what happens when he is caught red handed by the government and forced to give up both of his careers? You take the easy way out and do what they say.
Moving ahead we meet this same man with a new identity as one young girl named Britney enters the picture along with a man named Rick Jessup that seems to have an unusual hold on her and not a good one. As we learn more about their relationship we also learn more about her father Moses and hints about his past. Abe Glitsky and his wife Treya worked in the same office. Abe a Lieutenant on the San Francisco Police Force Homicide detail meeting with several guys one being Dismas Hardy a defense attorney. So, what is the secret that this defense attorney is hiding and how is he related to Moses McGuire Britney’s father. What is it that he feels everyone should know and why does Dismas want just the opposite? What can be so terrible that it is better left unsaid? What was this massacre? Who are the survivors and what was next? What did these cops do and why not reveal the truth?
When Moses learns about what happened to Britney he goes to see Rick and the end result you can only imagine. One man protecting his daughter from what was done to her but did he kill Rick Jessup? Was he alive after he took action against him? What about the verbal threat?
Meet the new players in Rick’s life: Liam Goodman and Rick Jessup worked with a man named Jon Lo. Working for this man Goodman preformed many tasks that would help this man’s cash flow. Dealing in real estate he managed to take the apartments and the real estate and turn them into massage parlors. How he paid off debts and got involved in the sex slave trade adds to the suspense in this novel. A conversation we are privy to between Jessup and Liam lets us know that there is much more his relationship with Lo as the author shares Lo’s concerns about Jessup and whether his loyalty and faith can be trusted. So, who killed him and why?
Brittany McGuire is the daughter of Moses McGuire and Susan Weiss. Dismas Hardy is her uncle and her reputation with men precedes her. Boyfriends come and go, but the hold that our victim Rick Jessup had on her and his need to be with her unnatural leads to his abusing her leading up to his raping her and Brittany deciding to not report it and keep it a secret from her parents. But why? Moses learns about her relationship with Rick and warns him head on to stay away from her but within 24 hours Rick Jessup is found dead and Moses McGuire appears to be the prime suspect. Wanting to protect his daughter, speaking with the homicide detectives does not deter him from protecting Brittany and never once giving out any specific information. But, Moses is weak in many respects and so is his wife Susan; both succumb to alcohol but in his case more serious. As Dismas Hardy becomes more aware of his problem leading him and Frannie to Susan’s aide and being hired to defend his old friend. But, there is a back-story that has yet to come to light dealing with an old secret that could destroy not only Hardy but Abe too.
One discussion with the police chief with one sergeant will change the complexion and direction of the investigation and those that will make the final arrest. Dealing directly with the chief, circumventing the DA and their immediate superior, two inspectors forged ahead to make that ultimate arrest of Moses McGuire in the death of Rick Jessup. But, there are secrets from the past and one incident brought to light that could not only change the lives of many of the major players but also bring down more than just a whole department. Added in one man’s identity might be compromised as a result of a trial testifying against a powerful drug lord.
With Dismas as his attorney will Moses prevail or will his answer to his problems win out: the bottle? Some hard truths given, both Hardy and Glitsky blindsided by his two investigators, just how did they get around these two men and the DA will soon be revealed. The jury in place, the opening statements given and the controversy over whether he is guilty discussed. Claiming his innocence, his alibi a lie and other evidence comes out is he really guilty or did he kill him? Added in we learn more about the trial process, the fact that his bartender’s charges were dropped and that the people he was involved with were into human trafficking and sex trade and slavery. As you hear the voices of his wife and his daughter you wonder whether they have trust in Moses and will stand by him. Melee at the bar, some photographers stirring things up, the police called and the next step has yet to be revealed as Dismas enlists the help of Abe to testify and we learn that he has been forced into retirement. Deceit, betrayals, lies and cover-ups for such are just some of what both sides are dealing with and one man stands in the center: Moses. But, just where does he stand and what is the truth?
As the trial continues and we hear the voice of the expert witness and those of the lawyers we begin to understand to what lengths each side will go in order to win their case. But, just how far will the defense go to protect his client? What about Tony the bartender and his involvement? What about the Supervisor Goodman and his man donor? Just how far up does this go and did the victim have an unknown enemy?
Author John Lescroart takes readers deep inside the courtroom as we experience first hand the trial procedures, the opening statements, jury selection and the testimony of the witnesses. Expertly done and intricately woven into the plot enters Wyatt Hunt his star investigator whose presence comes at a crucial time hoping to shed some light on the history of the victim, his true character and a create the possibility of another suspect. As the author takes readers inside the office of Supervisor Goodman and that of the owner of the massage parlors and many other illegal enterprises, Jon Lo, we watch how Hunt expertly learns what he needs to and hopefully has enough to shed some doubt in the jury’s mind about who killed Jessup.
Listening to Brittany’s testimony and hearing her account of the events we wonder just who else might have a score to settle with the victim. But, Hunt finds out more than he bargained for about the Supervisor and the hidden secret revealed just might help the defense.
An ending so explosive and filled with so many surprises that the reader will reread it several times to make sure you read it right. Just what happens to Moses and is he guilty you will have to hear the verdict yourself. What about Brittany and her new look? Just what is the Ophelia Cut and what does it have to do with Brittany? You’ll have to read the final chapter to find out. Not everyone can pull it off and not everyone can play the femme fatale. The Ophelia Cut: Can you pull it off?
Once again author John Lescroart weaves a plot filled with so many subplots, a cast of characters to true to life and an ending that could have been ripped out of the headlines. Expertly crafted, vividly depicted scenes and trial scenes that remind you of a real courtroom and even some Perry Mason moments for Hardy. This is one novel that will give readers more than just pause for thought as you read the unpredicted ending. Just who pulls the rabbit out of the hat and what does Hunt learn? The Ophelia Cut: Read it to find out!