After Hailey Dean's fiance, Will, is murdered weeks before their wedding, the young psychology student copes the only way she knows how: by prosecuting violent crime in court. As she tires of the courtroom, a serial killer begins to stalk Atlanta, targeting young prostitutes. She vows that this will be her last case.
As a way to start over, Hailey moves to New York and becomes a therapist in Nancy Grace's "The Eleventh Victim." Soon after, several of her clients are brutally murdered in a similar style the killer in Atlanta used. Hailey realizes that she must return to her previous life or more people will die.
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The piercing eruption of a telephone startled Special Prosecutor Hailey Dean, still at her desk late on a Friday night preparing for a Monday-morning trial.
It was probably Fincher, her longtime investigator and some-time bodyguard. Together, they worked felony investigations from inner-city housing projects to this latest, which involved one of North Atlanta's elite country clubs.
"District Attorney's Office, Hailey Dean speaking," she said absently into the receiver.
The silence that greeted Hailey on the other end of the tele-phone line caught her attention.
Realizing what was likely coming next, Hailey quickly reached for a notepad.
"Hello?" she repeated and waited for the recorded announcement that the call was from the prison. After she accepted the call, which she always did, an inmate would come on the line to offer information in exchange for a full dismissal of his own charges or, at the least, a lighter sentence or a transfer to a better facility.
As if a dismissal would ever happen. No way would Hailey go to hell to get witnesses to put a devil in jail ... she said so up front to each and every snitch.
Still, she'd talk, listening carefully, turning their tips into evidence in court—if she believed them. Then it would become necessary, like it or not, to cut some kind of deal.
She had never broken a deal, and so far, her snitches in turn had displayed a certain degree of decency. Not one had ever backed down on the stand, even when things got tense in the courtroom or behind jailhouse bars, where her informants lived day to day with the very defendants against whom they were testifying.
In fact, Hailey often trusted her rats more than her fellow attorneys, whom she routinely fed with a long-handled spoon, keeping them safely at arm's length.
"Hello," she repeated into the phone, wondering if the call got dropped by the prison switchboard. It wouldn't be the first time.
Just as she reached to hang up, she heard a faint, "Miss Hailey?"
An older, Southern woman was on the other end of the line, she realized—a woman who still functioned under the rules left over from the fifties that demanded a respectful "Miss."
"Can I help you, ma'am?" she asked, trying not to sound impa-tient, but she had a lot of work to do before she got out of here. "The DA's office is closed right now..."
"Excuse me for calling so late. This is Mrs. Leola Williams." Williams ... Leola Williams ...