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Star Witness

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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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416567707 | 
  • June 2007
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Ironically, I was watching the movie Inherit the Wind when I got the phone call.

Inherit the Wind is a fictionalized account of the Scopes, "monkey trial," where Clarence Darrow -- perhaps the last lawyer in America to be admired and respected -- defended a teacher charged with the crime of explaining evolution to his 1920s high school class. Darrow lost the case despite some heavy oratory. That's because there's no defense against orthodoxy; by definition, too many people believe in it.

Today, evolution is part of our orthodoxy. But I managed to find out the hard way what its modern equivalent is. I... see more

About the Author

Lia Matera
Photo Credit:

Lia Matera

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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