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Death qualified : a mystery of chaos
Kate Wilhelm
Adult Fiction WILHELM

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Veteran writer Wilhelm ( Sweet, Sweet Poison ) has produced another intricate, many-layered novel, in equal parts murder mystery, science fiction, psychological study and consideration of legal ethics. Nell Kendricks is charged with murdering her estranged husband, Lucas, who disappeared years ago while working on a top-secret experiment attempting to use chaos theory to change the observer's perception of the universe. Now it appears that Lucas had spent the intervening years drugged and amnesiac, a handyman at the university where the studies had taken place. Attorney Barbara Holloway, who is ``death qualified'' (i.e., legally permitted to act in capital cases), agrees to defend Nell, despite having left the profession, disillusioned by its practices. Barbara decides the key to the case lies in the chaos project and the mysterious death of one of the researchers. Facing a politically motivated, hostile prosecutor, Barbara is helped by a young mathematician, who becomes her lover. Wilhelm sensitively depicts her characters and their relationships, creating an insightful study of what is and what might be, ending in thought-provoking ambiguity. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Noted for both her science fiction/fantasy novels as well as her mysteries, Wilhelm combines these genres in her latest fiction. The novel begins with an arresting first paragraph, and the intensity is sustained until the final page. Lucas Kendricks, an unwilling participant in a scientific study on the mathematical theories of chaos, is murdered, allegedly by his wife Nell. Lucas had suffered from an altered perception of reality as a result of being used as a guinea pig. The story gradually unfolds during the aftermath of Lucas's murder. The novel's title refers to the lawyer who defends Nell, who is ``death qualified,'' i.e., qualified to conduct a case with a potential death sentence. It is difficult to describe the novel's many dimensions, ranging from tense courtroom scenes to the almost fantastic descriptions of the scientific study. Most astonishing is the author's ability to peel off one layer after another, revealing new ways of looking at the same facts. Highly recommended for general readers. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/91.-- Kathy Armendt Sorci, IIT Research Inst., Annapolis, Md. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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