Judicious Murder introduces Susan Marshfield, a criminal defense attorney in Joliet, Illinois. Her trial partner, mentor and close friend, Sam Kendall has recently become a judge. In Chapter One, Sam is found bludgeoned to death in his chambers with his own golf club. Lieutenant Al Tite wants Susan to review all the cases she and Sam defended and come up with a motive and a murderer. She thinks he’s a bully with the aptitude of a parking meter cop, but his enigmatic eyes don’t miss a thing. A cryptic text that Sam sent Susan minutes before his demise triggers her personal crusade to solve the homicide.
She discovers Sam was covertly working on the last case they tried together and lost. Their client Ellen Righetti is in the penitentiary, but it seems Sam had a passionate belief in her innocence and was seeking evidence to exonerate her. Susan suspects that the real killer in the old case felt Sam closing in and hunted him down.
When she discovers Sam was operating out of a secret six-figure cash account before his death, Susan is bewildered. Only people with something to hide do that, right?
As her faith in her hero starts to cool, her relationship with Al Tite starts to heat up. But he won’t let her in on the police investigation, and she doesn’t tell him about Sam’s slush fund.
Susan confronts the witnesses in the Righetti case, deliberately antagonizing them in hopes that the murderer will show his/her hand. She’s attacked while jogging and almost drowned when swimming laps. She’s up against a killer who has a plan for every contingency, and to survive their final confrontation she’ll need wits and cunning not found in a courtroom and an emotional resolve she hopes she possesses.