Cover image for Absolute certainty
Absolute certainty
Connors, Rose.
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Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, [2002]

Physical Description:
283 pages ; 25 cm
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A legal thriller to rival the best in the business, ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY introduces a new voice in crime fiction. Martha 'Marty' Nickerson is a lawyer who truly loves her job. As Assistant D.A. for Barnstable County on Cape Cod, she speaks for the victims of crime and sees the system as a means for doing right. The case of Manuel Rodriguez is a prime example. Rodriguez is accused of brutally murdering a college student, a kind young man who had a bright future. Marty has worked hard on this case. As the mother of a teenage son herself she feels a deep obligation to the murdered boy's grieving parents. Her case against Rodriguez is so solid that even public defender Harry Madigan, the champion of the Cape's underdogs, expects a conviction. And, on Memorial Day, a year after the crime, the verdict comes in: guilty as charged. Then the body of another teenager is found in disturbingly similar circumstances and Marty begins to question her victory. Her supervisor refuses to reopen such a high profile case. Why should she? They played by the rules and won big. Increasingly certain that the killer will stike again, Marty must rely on her own moral compass, legal savvy and gut instinct as s

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Short chapters propel the reader along in this engrossing legal thriller. The assistant district attorney of Cape Cod's Barnstable County, Martha "Marty" Nickerson, has just obtained the conviction of Manuel Rodriguez, who butchered a college student on Memorial Day in Chatham, Massachusetts. The day after the guilty verdict is announced, however, a teenager is found murdered in a similar manner. Marty's boss plays down the similarities; they won a conviction in the Rodriguez case on compelling evidence, and a serial killer on the loose will hurt the Cape's vast tourist industry. Unconvinced, Marty, along with Rodriguez's public defender, delves deeper into both crimes. Marty is a thoughtful, appealing heroine, concerned about the integrity of the legal system. Gripping courtroom scenes, crisp details of the legal system, vividly realized local color, and a nuanced portrait of the close-knit community, including Marty's personal life, all add up to a satisfying, often poignant debut novel. Recommend Connors to fans of Perri O'Shaughnessy and Lisa Scottoline, although, thus so far at least, she lacks the humor of Scottoline. --Sue O'Brien

Publisher's Weekly Review

Unlike many legal thrillers, which suffer from excess verbiage or rely on obscure legal maneuverings, Connors's first novel offers sleek, straightforward entertainment. A year after a horrific murder (a young man was bludgeoned and mutilated), prosecuting attorney Martha "Marty" Nickerson of Chatham on Cape Cod successfully secures the conviction of Manuel Rodriguez for the crime. For Nickerson, an assistant DA for more than a decade, the conviction is fully satisfying until a second murder, disturbingly similar to the first, occurs. The arrest of a likely suspect for the second crime isn't enough to quiet her growing doubts. She soon finds herself in conflict with her ambitious boss, Geraldine Schilling, and, surprisingly, in league with her frequent adversary, defense attorney Harry Madigan. A single mom raising a teenage son and coping with her ex's belated efforts to forge a bond with his long-ignored son, Nickerson is bright, determined, competent. Her unease turns to dread as her suspicion grows that at least one innocent man has been convicted and more young men will die if the law, rather than justice, is served. To pursue the truth, Nickerson must put her career at risk, alienating her mentor and putting herself outside the very system she has depended on. Connors wrings a fair amount of suspense from her appealing heroine's predicament and shows considerable flair in producing a solution to the crimes. Readers will swiftly devour this swift-paced debut. Agent, Nancy Yost. (Aug. 27) FYI: A member of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the author has been a trial attorney for 18 years. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Another lawyer tries her luck with thrillers, and the publisher is pitching the result as the first of a big new series. Assistant D.A. Martha "Marty" Nickerson, who helped convict Manuel Rodriguez for the murder of a college student, begins to suspect that this was anything but an open-and-shut case. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One Wednesday, May 26 "You nailed him, Martha." I know it's Geraldine Schilling without looking up. She's the only one in the office -- or anywhere else for that matter -- who calls me Martha. Geraldine is the First Assistant District Attorney for Barnstable County, a county that includes all the towns on Cape Cod. She intends to be Barnstable County's next District Attorney, a position no woman has ever held. "You nailed him. Now let's go in there and finish it." "I'm ready, Geraldine." I snap my briefcase shut and gesture for Geraldine to take the only empty seat in my cramped office. "But Judge Carroll released the jurors for lunch. He'll call for closing arguments when they get back." Geraldine doesn't sit down. She never does. She leans against my old wooden file cabinet instead, pressing a spiked heel against the bottom drawer. She draws hard on her cigarette and rolls her pale green eyes to the ceiling. "Lunch? Who the hell eats lunch?" There is a widely held belief in our office that Geraldine doesn't eat -- ever. All of us have seen her attend professional luncheons and political dinners, but no one has seen her swallow a morsel of food. Caffeine and nicotine seem to keep her going. She weighs 110 pounds wearing her neatly tailored suit. Kevin Kydd appears in my doorway, grinning as usual. "I do. I eat lunch. Where are we going, ladies?" He always makes me laugh. But Geraldine doesn't crack a smile. She shakes her long blond bangs and blows a steady stream of smoke toward the doorway. "Lunch with you, Kydd? I'd sooner starve." His grin expands. "Ah, Gerry, you're a peach." Kevin Kydd arrived in our office one year ago, a young Southern gentleman fresh out of Emory Law School in Atlanta, Georgia. He is tall and lanky, with slightly stooped shoulders and a grin that doesn't quit. Geraldine christened him "the Kydd" immediately upon his arrival and the rest of us adopted it. He, in turn, calls her "Gerry," always with the grin. We marvel that he still has a job. The Kydd ambles in and settles in the chair Geraldine rejected. "How about you, Marty? My treat." "Thanks, Kydd, but I'll have to pass. I'm expecting Judge Carroll's clerk to call any time now. We're closing Rodriguez this afternoon." "Mind if I watch?" The Kydd's question is intended more for Geraldine than for me, but I answer him quickly. "Not a bit." I remember my early days in this office, handling the traffic offenses and bounced checks that the Kydd is stuck with now, waiting for an opportunity to prosecute a "real" crime. Whenever I could, I watched closing arguments in the more serious cases. I watched Geraldine in action in a number of trials. She doesn't try cases anymore, but she was excellent in her day. The old black phone on my desk doesn't finish its first ring before I grab it. "Marty Nickerson." It's Wanda Morgan, Judge Carroll's courtroom clerk. The jury is back; the judge is calling for summations. I head for the door. The Kydd reaches it before I do, but he pauses to look back at Geraldine, to verify that he has her permission. She blows a smoke ring at him. "Go ahead," she says. "Maybe you'll learn something." Copyright © 2002 by Rose Connors Excerpted from Absolute Certainty: A Crime Novel by Rose Connors All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.