From the Publisher
In the critically acclaimed novels The Advocate and Officer of the Court, Bill Mesce Jr. introduced readers to a new hero in the world of military suspense. The Defender is the electrifying tale of Major Harry Voss’s most riveting case yet: a wartime court-martial that could cost an innocent man his life—and cover up another innocent man’s murder.
The case against Lieutenant Dominick Sisto is overwhelming. It’s so overwhelming that Major Harry Voss hasn’t been called in to prove him innocent—but to fight for a less severe sentence when the guilty verdict is read. Charged with disobeying a direct order from a commander, Sisto is accused of fleeing in the face of the enemy at a place called the Huertgen Forest. But the more Harry looks into the case, the more he suspects the official story is far from the real one. As Voss is raced to a secluded castle in Wiltz to defend Sisto, the war in Europe escalates and the Allied forces mount an offensive against the Nazis that will reach a climax in the Battle of the Bulge. Summoned personally by an old friend who will preside over the trial, Voss has a personal connection with the accused going back to the neighborhood where he watched the young lieutenant grow up. Still, determined as he is, Voss isn’t sure he’s the right man for the job. He hasn’t defended a criminal case in years and he’s up against an ambitious hotshot JAG prosecutor chosen by the brass to win at any cost.
And that cost may well be justice, truth, and the lives of innocent men. For as Voss unravels what really happened on Hill 399, he discovers that Sisto was a hero, not a traitor, and that the one man who can prove it vanished in the blood and chaos of war. As the trial builds to a shattering climax, Harry is driven to visit the Belgian site where the drama unfolded—and it’s there he must find evidence that he’s not just walking the hallowed ground of a battlefield…but the scene of a crime.
Evocative, tense, and relentlessly paced, The Defender is a superior military thriller that takes us to a place where loyalty turns into betrayal, allies turn into enemies, and comrades in arms can become cold-blooded killers.
This book finally delivers what has been promised in his other two books (The Advocate and Officer Of The Court). A rip-snorting (did I just say that?) military courtroom battle. Close in intensity to Word of Honour by Nelson DeMille but quite as good. Still a good book!