Book cover of True Justice

True Justice

Book Number 12 in the Butch Karp & Marlene Ciampi Series.

For Butch Karp, chief assistant district attorney for New York County, the nightmare begins with the discovery of a newborn baby, apparently murdered, then casually discarded with the city’s refuse. Goaded by the media’s sensational publicity, the public is screaming for blood, and Karp’s boss, D.A. Jack Keegan, is listening. He has ordered the prosecution of the baby’s fifteen-year-old mother for murder, intent on making a very public example of the girl. A Hispanic from a poor neighborhood, she’s an easy mark for big-city bureaucracy and bigotry. It is Butch Karp’s unpleasant job to see that the prosecution gives the public what it wants: a quick and thorough administration of hard-line justice.

Complicating matters further is Butch’s wife, Marlene Ciampi, a private investigator who has decided to return to practicing law. Her first case takes her a few hundred miles south to a small Delaware town, where another baby has been found, its lifeless body placed in a motel dumpster by two scared kids. Marlene is representing the mother, a doe-eyed middle-class suburban teen who claims the baby was stillborn.

Under pressure from the D.A.—a politically ambitious local prosecutor who is pressing to make it a case of capital murder—the infant’s father is singing a different song, placing all the blame on the girl.

With Butch and Marlene squaring off on opposite sides of an increasingly incendiary national debate, things couldn’t get any more tense until a shocking turn of events puts their teenage daughter Lucy at the center of a horrifying crime. Suddenly, everything they believe in is challenged, and they are drawn into a maelstrom of big-city politics and small-town values, where justice is sacrificed to the twin gods of public perception and expediency—and Karp must struggle to salvage his self-respect, his career, and his life.

First Published: 2000

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