Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Force That Through The Green Fuse

"Amy's closed eyes looked sunken--bruised--and her skin had a soft, bloated texture, as if she had been underwater too long. . . . She hadn't opened her eyes for more than two years now, but with each visit I still hoped her smile or grasp would welcome me."

Trial consultant Calla Gentry's younger sister, Amaryllis, called Amy by everyone, was the victim of a brutal rape in the parking lot of a bar in Tucson when she was 19. What she told police and her sister about her rapist was rambling and incoherent, certainly not enough to point to a suspect: three days later, she tried to commit suicide and failed--but reduced herself to total silence.

Because of that crime, Gentry refuses to take on anything but civil cases--an arrangement that her bitchily successful female boss has so far honored. But now the firm needs to quickly back up the defense in the upcoming trial of a wealthy young man accused of rape and attempted murder. Could Gentry at least start the work, until another employee is available? Gentry, who needs her salary to pay for Amy's private care, recognizes the threat behind the request and reluctantly goes to meet the client. She immediately has a bad feeling about him, and for deeply rooted but unprovable reasons thinks he may be her sister's rapist.

This is Louise Ure's first novel, and it is full of touching and frightening surprises. The link to flowers is set up on the opening page by instructions on a garden tag ("To force amaryllis, place bulb in a cool, dark place"), and is reinforced by the ways lovely, gentle things can be so easily destroyed.