Today, we have a short excerpt from Stephen Becker’s New York Times-bestselling A Covenant With Death. The novel, first published in 1964, will be released by Open Road Media in eBook next week. If the title is familiar, it might be because the novel was adapted into a movie starring George Maharis and a young Gene Hackman, in 1967. Here’s the synopsis:
On a sultry day in the spring of 1923, Louise Talbot spends the last afternoon of her life lounging in the shade of a sycamore tree in her front yard. Beautiful and vivacious, Louise is the talk of Soledad City — every man lusts after her; every woman wants to know her secrets. She is found strangled to death that evening, and when the investigation uncovers her affair with another man, the citizens of the frontier town draw the obvious conclusion: Bryan Talbot murdered his wife in a fit of jealousy and rage.
Presiding over the trial is twenty-nine-year-old Ben Lewis. Appointed to the bench as a tribute to the memory of his late father, he fears he is too inexperienced to sentence another man to death. All the evidence points to Talbot, however, and it is a magistrate’s sworn duty to see that justice is served. But when a last-second twist casts the question of the defendant’s guilt or innocence in a shocking new light, Judge Lewis must decide whether to uphold the law — or let a murderer go free.
A thrilling suspense story and a fascinating inquiry into human nature and the true meaning of justice.
Read on for the excerpt, which is taken from early in the novel. Continue reading