Living and Dying in the Rainbow Light by Jerri Blair

four stars

rainbowLiving and Dying in the Rainbow Light: Book III in the Lincoln County Law Trilogy by Jerri Blair switches back and forth between five different story lines. The book mainly focuses on the murder trial of defendant Mark Botto, who faces the death penalty for killing a beautiful young legal assistant. His lawyer, main character Elizabeth Shaw, is convinced he didn’t do it despite a good amount of evidence that makes it seem like he did. While the majority of the book centers around this case, the book also tells the story of Elizabeth’s days spent in a peaceful commune, Elizabeth’s fight to help a young juvenile delinquent named Ramone, the case of parents accused of murdering one of their twin girls, and Judge J.T. Lockman dealing with their daughter contracting AIDS. The different subjects the book delves into make for a memorable novel that touches on many controversial issues.

One of the most interesting things about this book is the way it explains some of the details of law that the average person wouldn’t know or even necessarily think about. It also goes into detail about DNA analysis and other scientific aspects of murder cases in a style that is never boring. The novel deals with the misogynism that a female professional had to deal with in the late 80’s and early 90’s in a small rural town, as well as the horrors of child molestation, racial and class prejudice, gay rights, and the stigma of AIDS. Although a few parts of the book feel unrealistic, such as the presence of a ghost in J.T. Lockman’s house, a detailed confession where you wouldn’t expect one, and the unbelievably perfect description of the early days of a commune, the majority of the novel feels like it could have really happened. From Elizabeth Shaw’s beauty and integrity to the very flawed murder defendant who insists he’s changed his ways, the characters are thoroughly developed. Because of this, the reader cares about them deeply. Overall, the storylines and characters are brought together in a way that make for a very enjoyable book.

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