Proof of Intent

A Charley Sloan Courtroom Thriller

Charley Sloan Courtroom Thrillers (Volume 5)

William J. Coughlin; by Walter Sorrells

Thomas Dunne Books

Okay, so your client is a liar. Does that make him a murderer?

In the dark hours of morning, Charley Sloan arrives at the palatial home of Miles Dane, celebrated novelist from the Detroit suburb of Pickeral Point, to find Dane's wife murdered in their bed.

Dane tells Charley he was downstairs working. Heard nothing, saw nothing.

The police arrive. Dane tells his story again. Only, this time there's a mysterious intruder fleeing down the hallway, with Dane in pursuit.

Miles Dane became a famous writer because he had a wild and violent imagination. But now that imagination seems to be getting him in trouble. The more he talks to the police, the crazier his story sounds. Is he making things up because that's just what he does? Or is it because he has something to hide?

Once the cops uncover physical evidence linking Dane to the crime, they're sure they know the answer. Dane is charged with murder.

Charley Sloan has his work cut out for him. How do you protect and represent a client who seems to be his own worst enemy?

Miles Dane's wild thoughts continue to dog him as the evidence rolls in. The police soon suspect that he had planned this crime many years ago. And made the mistake of writing it all down. In exact detail.

Was it a plan of action or just another of Miles Dane's strange fantasies? At first Charley can't help but think that Miles killed his wife. But as he begins conducting his own investigation into the case, Charley comes to believe that Miles his client has been framed. And that the real killer is using Dane's own bizarre imagination against him.

But if that's true, why doesn't Dane speak up?

Charley thinks he knows why. Dane has something to hide. Something from his past. Something shameful.

Charley understands shame. A recovering alcoholic with a string of wrecked marriages behind him, he has his own dark past. Charley has long been separated from his daughter Lisa, a law student and recovering alcoholic, who now joins the hard-pressed legal team. Will the case bring father and daughter together or drive them apart?

The trial begins and still it's unclear where Miles Dane's wild imaginings stop and reality begins. Or whether he is committing the ultimate sacrifice in order to atone for something he did long ago.

Only in the crucible of the final, fevered moments of trial will Charley finally put the pieces together. And reveal the stunning truth.


Read an Excerpt

LATER THE ADDRESS would become familiar to everyone in America, a phrase on everyone’s lips. Just like “the Rockingham estate” or “the compound at Waco.” But at the time 221 Riverside Boulevard in Pickeral Point, Michigan, was just a big house I’d never visited before, dark and unfamiliar at that dead hour of the night.
And so at first I didn’t see him. As I’d been instructed on the phone, I had come in the back door. The moon was throwing a white patch on the dark floor.
As my eyes adjusted, a dark blob in the middle of the large empty


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  • William J. Coughlin; by Walter Sorrells

  • William J. Coughlin, a former defense attorney and judge in Detroit for twenty years, was the author of sixteen novels. He lived in Grosse Point Woods, Michigan, with his wife, Ruth, an author and book critic.

    Walter Sorrells is the Edgar Award-winning author of the legal thrillers Cry For Justice, Will To Murder, and Power Of Attorney. He has served on the board of directors of the Mystery Writers of America.


Available Formats and Book Details

Proof of Intent

A Charley Sloan Courtroom Thriller

Charley Sloan Courtroom Thrillers

William J. Coughlin; by Walter Sorrells

  • e-Book



Thomas Dunne Books