With his marriage to the beautiful Karla in disarray and his law practice in a state of neglect, wealthy San Francisco attorney Jack Darwin is also plagued with mounting financial problems, the result of his wife’s heedless extravagance. Then Karla, seeking a profitable divorce, escalates his troubles when she falsely charges him with sexual brutality. Bewildered, Jack turns for help to a fellow lawyer, an aggressive and enigmatic criminal defense attorney named David Avila, who has recently befriended him.
It seems to Darwin that things can’t get worse, but he is proved wrong when he is accused of a series of rape-murders that have occurred in the city. Racked by increasing doubts about the motives of his own defense counsel, Darwin decides it’s more than time to take charge of his own life.
Written with brilliant authenticity by a former criminal defense attorney, The Devil to Pay creates an atmosphere of page-turning tension as police, lawyers, and an innocent victim battle what seem to be insurmountable odds to prevail against a clever and diabolically unpredictable killer.
The suspense of this cleverly plotted thriller is derived from the old Hitchcockian device of letting the audience—but not the hero—in on the danger….a great thriller.
Booklist (starred review)
Dold’s lyrical and stylized prose is of a quality rarely encountered in any genre. The bloody end in misty San Francisco testifies to Dold’s skills as a perfect scene-setter and villain’s portraitist—evolutionary advantages that any writer of suspense would love to have.