Primitives

Imagine Law & Order set in Lake Wobegon. This is the world of 15 Gothic Street, about crime and justice in a small New England town.

  1. Chapter I

    David Hoose stands to address the jury. He’s fifty-eight years old, six foot two with a runner’s build, the most renowned criminal defense attorney in western Massachusetts. Even under the recessed and indirect lighting of Courtroom 2, his closely shaved head is almost gleaming. He turns his incisive gaze toward the jurors.

    “Reasonable doubt is the last refuge of an innocent man,” he says, in his carefully modulated voice. “And no case illustrates that better than this one. Because of an uncorroborated allegation that came out of the blue—just a generic accusation with no dates and no times attached—David Fried Oppenheim found himself placed under arrest.

    “That’s Kafkaesque. Nobody has a twenty-four seven, three-sixty-five alibi unless his name is Obama …

    “Consider for a moment the alleged victim in this case. No one who is being sexually molested at fourteen can fail to show symptoms of it to the people around her. But no one saw any signs of a child in distress. If she’s a good enough actress to get anally raped upstairs and then come downstairs and sing songs, she’s a good enough actress to come in here and fool you.

    “Why did she make her accusation? She was under stress. It was her first year at the Beacon Hill Conservatory, a very competitive environment. It must be particularly tough when you go from a small town like Boxley in Hampshire County straight to Boston. She went from being everybody’s little starlet to being just another face in the crowd. And then her bo...

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