Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Guilty One, by Lisa Ballantyne

Daniel is a solicitor who is called in to deal with a controversial case.  Eleven year old Sebastian is accused of murdering his young friend Ben at the playground.  During the course of the investigation and trial, Daniel is forced to come to terms with his own troubled youth, and his relationship with the mother figures in his life.

What an emotionally intense book this was!  The action takes off from the very beginning, and while the idea of a child being murdered (possibly by another child) is incredibly morbid, it was also very captivating, and had me hooked from the first few pages.  The writing is crisp, without a lot of fluff, and the book has a feeling or moving rapidly.  There are dualing storylines, the criminal storyline focusing on Sebastian, and the more emotional storyline focusing on Daniel and his past.  The story switches with each chapter, but they run parallel, so that switch always makes sense.  Both stories unfold at the same pace, in complementary ways, so the writing has great impact.

The characters, both major and minor, are really complex, and it seems most everyone one has a guilty secret.  Sebastian, as a character, is troubling and unsettling, which makes his story so captivating.  Daniel, while still an intense character, is easier to handle.  There is obviously an emphasis on the theme of guilt and innocence, but also a strong emphasis on maternal relationships.  

The book will appeal to fans of contemporary thrillers, mysteries, and crime dramas.  But do not be fooled, this book has a lot more depth than just those specific genres.  I was more than a little impressed.

I received a review copy of the book courtesy of TLC Book Tours, in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

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