The road to Allenwood federal prison is paved with good intentions. Or so it seems to Jack Stanton, the hotshot D.C. trial lawyer who goes on the lam—a heartbeat ahead of the feds—at the opening of this suspenseful novel, Junkin's second.
As Stanton holes up in a deserted summer home on Maryland's Eastern Shore, not far from the farm where he grew up, he recalls every stumble down the slippery slope that took him from sterling public defender to disgraced fugitive. (Exactly what he has done is something Junkin—a former "Washington PD turned litigator—reveals only in tantalizing increments.) Stanton is forced to confront some hard truths about the choices he has made, especially as he becomes increasingly close to a mysterious young woman trying to exorcise her own troubled past. The relationship appears to offer Stanton an unexpected shot at redemption—plus the very real risk of discovery.. Though Counsel earns a place on the same docket as the finest courtroom nail-biters in its depiction of behind-the-scenes machinations, Junkin offers much more. This legal eagle's prose soars above the Chesapeake with a surprisingly thoughtful look at honor, loyalty and love. (Algonquin Books, $23.95)