by James A. Ardaiz
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
$18.95 US • Trade Paperback • 6″ x 9″ • 360 pages
Reopening a cold murder case uncovers disturbing secrets and forces a young prosecutor to an agonizing decision in the gritty, fast-paced, and coldly realistic new legal thriller Shades of Truth.
Written by a former prosecutor and judge who intimately knows the world of attorneys, detectives and criminals, Shades of Truth crackles with authenticity and a propulsive hard-boiled story.
When rapidly rising assistant DA Matt Jamison is assigned to convicted murderer Rick Harker’s habeas corpus hearing, it hardly seems worth his trouble. Everyone knows that Harker was guilty. Twenty-six years ago he murdered Lisa Farrow and set her body on fire. Lisa’s three-year-old daughter Christine identified Harker as the murderer, and he’s been in San Quentin ever since. The only mystery about the case is why the original trial judge didn’t give Harker the death sentence he richly deserved.
But now the adult Christine Farrow is recanting her testimony, handing Jamison a case that will test his character and his convictions. While Harker’s idealistic attorney demands a new trial, Jamison retraces the original investigation, trying to find if there is any doubt of Harker’s guilt.
Jamison’s investigation leads him deep into the past lives of people who want to stay hidden: Mike Jensen, the lead detective on the original case, now an ailing alcoholic clinging to past glory and resentful of any insinuation he got it wrong; Christine Farrow, deeply traumatized by childhood tragedy and possibly the victim of an unscrupulous therapist; Clarence Foster, the low-level career criminal who identified Harker as the killer; and Jamison’s own dead father, a famous defense attorney mysteriously involved in the Harker case.
As Jamison gets closer to learning the truth behind Harker’s conviction, his investigators and friends repeatedly warn him to stop before he discovers a secret that might end his high-flying career. When Jamison finds evidence of corruption in the DA’s office he is faced with a stark dilemma: Is exposing the truth worth the damage?
Audience: Legal thriller and mystery readers.
About the Author: James A. Ardaiz is a former prosecutor, judge and Presiding Justice of the California Fifth District Court of Appeal. Ardaiz’s previous books include Fractured Justice, the first Matt Jamison legal thriller, and Hands Through Stone, a nonfiction account of Ardaiz’s investigation and prosecution of murderer Clarence Ray Allen, the last man executed by the State of California.