Monday, January 5, 2009

Read On! "Daughter's Keeper"

(Read On! ... occasional posts on writing we're reading) Transnational crime comes to the fore in a gripping way in Daughter's Keeper, a 2003 novel that's just come to my attention.
The author is Ayelet Waldman (below right), once an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Los Angeles.
Waldman taps her experience in this book, though she sets it in the milieu of the Northern District of California Federal Public Defender office, where yours truly once had the privilege of representing indigents charged with federal offenses.
The story unfolds mostly through the eyes of Olivia, her estranged mother, and the AFPD who comes to her aid. A (sub)urban "good girl" with a mild wild streak, Olivia soon finds herself styled the (pregnant) kingpin in a drug conspiracy. This putative cabal numbers only 3 members, 1 of whom turns out to be informant. Yet it's big enough to draw the attention of the feds -- and a very long mandatory minimum sentence. How these characters and the systems within which they live grapple with acts (criminal and otherwise) committed by humans who cross borders is well worth a read.

(credit for Stephanie Rausser photo of Waldman)

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