Lisa Balamaro is an intelligent and gifted, albeit rudderless, young attorney who has drifted into a successful art law practice in San Francisco. A dream come true, right? One day, her cowboy client, former art forger, Tuck Mercer, brings her a deal: negotiate the sale of the recently discovered long-lost love letters of Doc Holliday to a western artifact collector. Recently discovered, these letters between Doc and his cousin, Mattie, who allegedly was the inspiration for Margaret Mitchell’s character, Melanie Hamilton, are highly desirable.
No big deal. Lisa flies to Arizona with Rayella Vargas, the owner of the letters, to meet the buyer at a remote hotel of his choosing. As soon as the conference room door is closed, all hell breaks loose.
Faced with layers of deception and intrigue Lisa does not yet comprehend, our young lawyer does what she knows how to do best: files suit and goes to court. While she’s lawyering, every other character is doing what they know how to do best: the crooked judge, the shyster lawyer, the cowboy vigilantes, and a small squad of battle-hardened Marines at the beck and call of good old Tuck.
The novel alternates between the contemporary story and gorgeously-written letters as they trace the separation of the star-crossed lovers. For those who enjoy the beautiful use of language, there is much to be enjoyed.
The author also masterly renders an out-of-control courtroom drama weaving in the attorney’s thought processes as she runs through procedures and arguments in a way that is understandable to the lay person, credible to an experienced attorney, and creates an exciting tension-filled scene. After court, the drama continues to escalate all the way to the end. It’s one of those stories that I know will stay with me for as I sort it all out.
Drop by Mysteristas tomorrow when the author, David Corbett, will be our guest.