The Spire by Richard North Patterson
Used mass market paperback (cover may vary).
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Mark Darrow grew up in small-town Ohio with no real advantages. But thanks to Lionel Farr, a professor at a nearby college, Darrow became an excellent scholar/athlete and, later, a superb trial lawyer. Now Farr offers his protégé a job as his alma mater's new president, which Darrow accepts. But being back on campus opens old wounds. Sixteen years ago, on the night of his greatest football triumph, Darrow found the body of a black female student at the base of the college bell tower, knownas the Spire...
Darrow's best friend was charged with the murder, and was sent to prison for life. But Darrow is about to discover that the case against his college friend left crucial questions unanswered. Despite his new obligations--and his deepening attachment to Farr's beautiful though troubled daughter--Darrow begins an inquiry into the murder and is soon convinced that the real killer is still at large...and that his own life is surely at risk.