Local Rules

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

It seems like the whole town saw Wayne Orkney beat up his best friend Kevin Wainwright. On the other hand, there seem to be no witnesses to the murder, that same day, of Jenny Fecklewhite. To Jordan Marshall, the court-appointed public defender, the two cases have nothing in common. To everyone else, however, the two cases are intimately related. Now it is up to Jordan to solve the Fecklewhite case so he can begin to defend his client.

Jenny Fecklewhite was the town’s “golden girl.” Everyone loved her, no one had a bad word to say about her. Even the judge took an interest in the girl; some say too great an interest. When she was murdered, Wayne Orkney became the prime, but unofficial suspect. Lacking evidence to convict Orkney of Jenny’s death, the next best thing is to give him the maximum sentence in the beating and subsequent death of Kevin Wainwright. Unfortunately, Jordan cannot bring himself to take the plea bargain offered, so he prepares to go to trial.

Preparation for trial is more difficult than it should be. Wayne says little in his own defense, and the town treats Jordan like the outsider he is. When Jordan is befriended by Laura Stefone, the town’s court reporter, he gets a bit more than he bargained for.

From the first sentence to the last, Jay Brandon keeps the tension on. Who killed Jenny and why? Was she what she appeared to be, or did she have some secret? What part did the Judge play? The answers are all very satisfying.