Star Witness: A Willa Jansson Mystery

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9781416567707: Star Witness: A Willa Jansson Mystery

Just when attorney Willa Jansson is about to take a little time off from her job at a Son Francisco multimedia firm, a friend calls in a special favor. So, on her first day of what should have been her well-earned vacation, Willa's off to Santa Cruz to solve what she hopes will be a simple case of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run. But Willa is about to discover that nothing about this case -- or the town where it occurred -- is quite as it seems.

Alan Miller's sports car went over an embankment and onto the coastal highway below, landing atop another car and killing its driver. But there are no tire tracks, no witnesses, and Miller's injuries aren't consistent with a car crash. Unable to recall where he was just after the accident, Miller's memory is jogged under hypnosis -- a recollection so far-fetched that Willa knows it will never stand up in court. All of a sudden, seemingly idyllic Santa Cruz is rife with dangerous secrets, and Willa must outrun helicopters, snipers, reporters, her own interfering mother -- and try to maintain her credibility and her career by making the jury buy her client's out-of-this-world alibi. If she can just keep the witnesses alive long enough to testify....

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Review:

Remember the "Twinkie Defense," where a lawyer tried to get his client off on a murder charge on the basis of too much sugar in his diet? Fictional (but totally believable) San Francisco attorney Willa Jansson goes one step beyond in this addition to Lia Matera's lively series: Willa uses the "UFO Defense," based on her client's memories (revealed under hypnosis) of being in an alien spaceship when his sports car went off the road and killed another driver. Jansson finds four squabbling UFO experts to support this defense strategy, and not the least of Matera's many high points in a book full of them is her ability to convince us that it might just have happened. Previous Jansson cases in paperback include Last Chants, Hidden Agenda, Prior Convictions, and Radical Departure.

About the Author:

Lia Matera is a graduate of Hastings College of the Law, where she was editor in chief of the Constitutional Law Quarterly. She was also a Teaching Fellow at Stanford Law School before becoming a full-time writer of legal mysteries. Prior Convictions and A Radical Departure were nominated for Edgar Allan Poe awards. The Good Fight and Where Lawyers Fear to Tread were nominated for Anthony and Macavity Awards. She has written nine novels, including the critically acclaimed Face Value. Matera lives in Santa Cruz, California.

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