Sixteen books were submitted for the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. The distinguished selection committee included Wayne Flynt, Mary McDonagh Murphy, and Michele Norris, among others.
Three finalists were chosen for the 2015 award: My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni, Terminal City by Linda Fairstein, and The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson.
Deborah Johnson became the first woman and the first African-American to be awarded the prize. In her novel The Secret of Magic, Regina Robichard, an African-American attorney working with Thurgood Marshall's Legal Defense Fund, investigates the disappearance and death of a young black World War II veteran in Mississippi.
Johnson was presented with the award during a special ceremony coinciding with the Library of Congress' National Book Festival held at the Jefferson Building in Washington, D.C. on September 3, 2105.
Working for a prominent member of the NAACP in 1946 when a request comes from her favorite childhood author to investigate the murder of a black war hero, Regina Robichard travels to Mississippi, where she navigates the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past
Linda A. Fairstein
When the body of a young woman is found in the tower suite of the Waldorf Astoria--one of the most prestigious hotels in Manhattan--Assistant DA Alex Cooper and Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace find themselves hunting for an elusive killer whose only signature is carving a carefully drawn symbol into his victims' bodies, a symbol that bears a striking resemblance to train tracks. When a second body bearing the same bloody symbol is discovered in a deserted alleyway right next to the Grand Central terminal building, all attention shifts to the iconic transportation hub, where the potential for a bigger attack weighs heavily on everyone's minds --from publisher's description
Seattle police officer Tracy Crosswhite lost her sister Sarah over 20 years ago, and she has never forgiven herself. With no corpse discovered, there was still enough evidence to convict the man thought responsible for Sarah's disappearance. Now a body has been found and Tracy learns the remains are of her sister. Tracy has had her doubts about the guilt of the man behind bars, and she's absolutely sure there is a murderer still loose
Max Allan Collins
When a Supreme Court justice is killed in the middle of a botched robbery, former Secret Service agent Joseph Reeder, who is requested by an old FBI friend Gabe Sloan to help with the investigation, is convinced that the killing was premeditated
On a sweltering September night, Long Beach Homicide Detective Danny Beckett is called to a grisly crime scene at the mouth of the Los Angeles River. A defenseless homeless man has been burned to death by three teenagers with gang ties. The suspects are already in custody, and the evidence is overwhelming--but when one suspect's brother is targeted for murder, Danny starts to think there may be more to this seemingly clear-cut case. Obsessed with discovering the true identity of the victim, a gentle vagrant who may have been hiding a tortured past, Danny and his team start to uncover a high-reaching conspiracy that puts them all at risk--and threatens to open new wounds that could cut even deeper than Danny's old ones
A Rachel Knight novel --Dust jacket;"While interviewing students in the aftermath of a school shooting in the San Fernando Valley, prosecutor Rachel Knight and Detective Bailey Keller realize the facts don't add up and the real killers may still be out there"
Twelve years ago, teenager Molly Singer was tried and convicted for murdering her parents. She was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison, torn away from her newborn daughter, and forsaken by those closest to her. But now, a series of anonymous letters proclaim her innocence--and point a finger at a deadly conspiracy. --Publisher description
Kevin J. Dunne
Baxter “Boxer” Tate is preparing to graduate with poor grades from an unaccredited law school when he first encounters Miller Johnson, a partner at Malloy, a third-rate insurance defense firm. Boxer is being sued in a personal-injury case, but after meeting with Miller, he knows he will get Miller’s firm to give him a job―his first step on the road to judicial superstardom. After passing the bar exam, Boxer joins the Malloy law firm and finds himself entering the legal profession through a variety of judicial hellholes. There he thrives, learning to be an articulate, effective advocate―a courtroom magician of sorts. His star begins to rise, and he’s finally going in the direction he wants. But then he loses some big ones and spends time in jail. He falls in love with two women at once and is soon hated by judges and adversaries alike. As his fate becomes more uncertain, he wonders whether the judicial system actually renders justice in a world where the bench and the bar are both corrupt. This legal thriller follows the changing fates of a talented but controversial lawyer through the ins and outs of the legal profession.
When a powerful client summons him for a midnight meeting, lawyer Chris Bruen knows something is very wrong. Zapper, the world's most popular search engine, has been compromised, and its most valuable asset--search algorithms--stolen. The company suspects that this most recent intance in a wave of high-tech crimes originated in China, and that the government itself is behind the systematic theft of US intellectual property. Chris travels to China to search for evidence that will link the intrusion to the People's Liberation Army. With remote assistance from Zoey Doucet, the head of his firm's computer forensics lab and his maybe-girlfriend, Chris uncovers information that takes him even deeper into the shadowy world of cybercrime. Now he is trapped in a foreign land with a hard drive containing information that puts his life in jeopardy. In this secretive world of Big Data, Chris will risk everything to fight an elusive enemy as far-reaching as the Internet itself. --Page 4 of cover
John T. Lescroart
On the evening before Thanksgiving, Hal Chase, a guard in the San Francisco County Jail, drives to the airport to pick up his step-brother for the weekend. When they return, Hal's wife, Katie, has disappeared without a clue. By the time Dismas Hardy hears about this, Katie has been missing for five days. The case strikes close to home because Katie had been seeing Hardy's wife, a marriage counselor. By this time, the original Missing Persons case has become a suspected homicide, and Hal is the prime suspect. And the lawyer he wants for his defense is none other than Hardy himself. Hardy calls on his friend, former homicide detective Abe Glitsky, to look into the case. At first it seems like the police might have it right the Chases' marriage was fraught with problems Hal's alibi is suspect the life insurance policy on Katie was huge. But Glitsky's mission is to identify other possible suspects, and there proves to be no shortage of them: Patti Orosco--rich, beautiful, dangerous, and Hal's former lover the still unknown person who had a recent affair with Katie even Hal's own step-mother Ruth, resentful of Katie's gatekeeping against her grandchildren. And as Glitsky probes further, he learns of an incident at the San Francisco jail, where Hal works--only one of many questionable inmate deaths that have taken place there. Then, when Katie's body is found not three blocks from the Chase home, Homicide arrests Hal and he finds himself an inmate in the very jail where he used to work, a place full of secrets he knows all too well. Against this backdrop of conspiracy and corruption, ambiguous motives and suspicious alibis, an obsessed Glitsky closes in on the elusive truth. As other deaths begin to pile up he realizes, perhaps too late, that the next victim might be himself -- from publisher's web site
When a promoter lures all the best players to his private (and expensive) summer travel baseball league, local lawyer and volunteer commissioner for the town's Babe Ruth recreational league, David Thompson, enlists the help of friends and fans to help him defend both the league and community sports in general
Blockbuster author Lisa Scottoline returns to the Rosato & Associates law firm with Betrayed, and maverick lawyer Judy Carrier takes the lead in a case that's more personal than ever. Judy has always championed the underdog, so when Iris, the housekeeper and best friend of Judy's beloved Aunt Barb, is found dead of an apparent heart attack, Judy begins to suspect foul play. The circumstances of the death leave Judy with more questions than answers, and never before has murder struck so close to home. In the meantime, Judy's own life roils with emotional and professional upheaval. She doesn't play well with her boss, Bennie Rosato, which jeopardizes her making partner at the firm. Not only that, her best friend Mary DiNunzio is planning a wedding, leaving Judy feeling left behind, as well as newly unhappy in her relationship with her live-in boyfriend Frank. Judy sets her own drama aside and begins an investigation of Iris's murder, then discovers a shocking truth that confounds her expectations and leads her in a completely different direction. She finds herself plunged into a shadowy world of people who are so desperate that they cannot go to the police, and where others are so ruthless that they prey on vulnerability. Judy finds strength within herself to try to get justice for Iris and her aunt -- but it comes at a terrible price. -- Provided by publisher;" The women of Rosato & Associates return, after the relaunch of the series that started with Accused. This second entry, Betrayed, stars Judy Carrier, who has had the starring role in only one previous Rosato book. When Betrayed opens, Judy Carrier finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her best friend, Mary DiNunzio, has just become partner and is about to become a bride, leaving Judy vaguely out of sorts. She's not jealous, but she's not happy either and she's wondering where her own career and love life are going. To make matters worse, she is rocked to her emotional foundations when she learns that her beloved Aunt Vicky has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She races to her aunt's side, and so does Judy's mother, only to find that her aunt is dealing with the sudden death of a friend who had been helping her through chemo. The friend, Emelia Juarez, was an undocumented worker at a local farm, but her death doesn't look natural at all, to Judy. Judy begins to investigate, following a path that leads her into an underground world far more dangerous than she ever imagined. Judy has to dig to uncover what happened to Emelia, and at the same time unearth the secrets in her own family -- Provided by publisher"
A young nurse is savagely killed during a pre-dawn run on Galveston’s seawall. The murderer slices her running shorts from her body as his trophy and tosses the body over the wall to the rocks below. As dawn breaks, a bedraggled street person, wearing four layers of old, tattered clothes, emerges from the end of the jetty, waving his arms and talking to people only he hears. He trips over the body, checks for a pulse and, instead, finds a diamond bracelet which he puts in his pocket. He hurries across the street, heading for breakfast at the Salvation Army two blocks away, leaving his footprints in blood as he goes. Wayne Little, former Galveston prosecutor and now Houston trial lawyer, learns that his older brother has been charged with capital murder for the killing. At first he refuses to be dragged back into his brother’s life. Once a brilliant lawyer, Dan’s paranoid schizophrenia had captured his mind, estranging everyone including Wayne. Finally giving in to pleas from his mother, Wayne enlists the help of his best friend, Duke Romack, former NBA star turned criminal lawyer. When Wayne and Duke review the evidence, they conclude that Dan’s chances are slim. They either find the killer or win a plea of insanity since the prosecution’s case is air tight. The former may be a mission impossible since the killer is the most brilliant, devious and cruel fictional murderer since Hannibal Lecter. The chances of winning an insanity plea are equally grim. It will take the combined skills of the two lawyers along with those of Duke’s girlfriend, Claudia, a brilliant appellate lawyer, and Rita Contreras, Wayne’s next door neighbor and computer hacker extraordinaire, to attempt to unravel the mystery of the serial killer before the clock clicks down to a guilty verdict for Dan. The Insanity Plea is a spell-binding tale of four amateur sleuths who must find, track and trap a serial killer as they prepare for and defend Wayne's brother, who is trapped in a mind like that of John Nash, Russell Crowe’s character in A Beautiful Mind. Combining legal thriller with tracking a serial killer, Thompson once again takes the reader on a helluva ride, right up to the last page and sentence. The Insanity Plea, a new legal thriller by Larry D. Thompson, Best Selling author of Dead Peasants, The Trial and So Help Me God. “…fierce courtroom drama…” “…intoxicating…and nail-biting…” “…the courtroom scenes often soar” --Kirkus Reviews
Leo Maxwell always lived in the shadow of his older brother Teddy, one of San Francisco's most ruthless and effective criminal defense lawyers. Then a gunman shot Teddy in the head. Although Teddy survived the shooting, he has been left disabled and dependent on Leo, now a criminal defense attorney practicing in Oakland. The Maxwell brothers are living together in Oakland while Leo, chafing in his role as junior attorney in his former sister-in-law's small criminal defense firm, is on the lookout for the big case that will make his reputation. He thinks he's found that when a mysterious woman nearly runs him down, then appears at his office to hire him to defend her brother on a murder charge. One problem: Leo hasn't actually met the client when he sets out to investigate what seems like a hot tip on a burgeoning scandal in the Oakland Police Department. Leo takes a series of photographs that seem to blow the lid on deep-set corruption in the Department. However, when he brings these pictures to the attention of the District Attorney's office, he quickly learns that all is not as it seems, beginning with Leo's client and the alluring woman who hired him
Beryl Stapleton felt joy, when her husband Jack was sucked into the Grimpen Mire. Free of his oppressive evil, she opened a fashionable dress shop in London. Known as The Widow of Dartmoor, her enterprise is a success . . . until she is caught, at 2am dragging the body of a murdered man into an alleyway. Who better to defend her than The Bastard, the nephew of Sherlock Holmes? A barrister, Jeremy Holmes is the illegitimate son of Sherlock's oldest brother. Revered by the criminals of London, Jeremy lives to peel the masks off witnesses and find the truth. But his gifts are not the product of reason. Rather, his art. His pictures reveal the passions of those he draws. He can feel their hearts.
Thomas Jackson McMurtrie, a longtime law professor at the University of Alabama, who, 40 years after giving up a promising career as a trial lawyer to teach law students at the request of his mentor, Coach Paul Bear Bryant, retires to his farm an angry and bitter man, betrayed by both a Board member he mistook for a friend and his own failing health. Meanwhile, the young family of one of Tom's oldest friends is killed in a tragic collision with an 18-wheeler. Believing his career is over, Tom refers his friend to a brilliant, yet beleaguered, former student, Rick Drake, who begins to uncover that the truth behind the tragedy is buried in a tangled web of arson, bribery and greed. When a key witness is murdered on the eve of trial, the young attorney, in over his head and at the end of his rope, knows he needs help ... and there's only one man who can help him --Provided by publisher