trial by fury


The body lying naked and dead in a Seattle Dumpster was a shock. But even more shocking was the manner in which he died. The victim, a popular high school basketball coach, was lynched–a grim echo from a dark past–leaving behind a very pregnant wife with a very dangerous secret. A sixth sense developed over twenty years on the job tells Homicide detective J. P. Beaumont that this investigation is going to the lethal extremes–of passion, lies and hatred; of the wrong kind of love and the worst kind of justice.

When I first arrived in Seattle in 1981, I was dead broke. My daughter wanted desperately to go to Girl Scout camp, but the only way to make that happen was for her to sell Girl Scout Cookies–one thousand boxes a year, three years in a row. One of the places she sold cookies was outside a supermarket on Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill. It was during those hours that I learned Girl Scout Cookie season and the Washington State high school basketball tournament ran at the same time. So when readers encounter the girl who’s out selling her cookies, they may be interested in knowing that they’re meeting up with the author and her daughter making cameo appearances in the story.

I’ve always been opposed to outlines–from sixth grade on. When my editor needed to go to a cover meeting for this book, I told him how I thought the book would end. But thinking and doing are two different things. By the time I finished writing the manuscript, the ending had changed. Unfortunately, the cover had not, so I went back and changed the ending so it matched the cover. This was my first bad experience in the Byzantine world of cover art; it would not be my last.


AVON (1986) ISBN 0-380-75138-0