Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jenn's Review: Claim of Innocence

Claim of InnocenceSummary:  Forbidden relationships are the most tempting. And the most dangerous.


It was a crime of passion–or so the police say. Valerie Solara has been charged with poisoning her best friend. The prosecution claims she's always been secretly attracted to Amanda's husband…and with Amanda gone, she planned to make her move.


Attorney Izzy McNeil left the legal world a year ago, but a friend's request pulls her into the murder trial. Izzy knows how passion can turn your life upside down. She thought she had it once with her ex–fiance, Sam. Now she wonders if that's all she has in common with her criminally gorgeous, younger boyfriend, Theo.


It's Izzy's job to present the facts that will exonerate her client–whether or not she's innocent. But when she suspects Valerie is hiding something, she begins investigating–and uncovers a web of secret passions and dark motives, where seemingly innocent relationships can prove poisonous…

Review:  I was a twenty-five pages or so into this book and wondering why I felt I'd been dropped into the middle of something... and then I realized that I had been dropped into the middle of a series.  I am not a fan of reading books out of order when it comes to a series, and although the prior books weren't necessary to the plot, I still felt like I wasn't getting as much out of the personal relationships between the characters as I would had I read the previous three.  Also, there are some big things that have occurred for all of the characters that I now am spoiled over by having read the fourth book first.  That aside, this will obviously be a review of this book as a standalone novel.

If I didn't get the full measure of character interactions, I hoped that I could at least appreciate it for the plot.  Alas, as soon as the defendant Valerie was introduced, I pretty much knew what had happened in the case but I thought there might be some good plot twists thrown in.  Unfortunately, all of those had to do with the character's personal lives which I couldn't seem to invest in due to the fact that I never got to know them very well.

Ms. Caldwell's writing jumped around a lot as it changed points of view in a rather halting manner.  Much of the personal interaction seemed superfluous, again perhaps because it's this is mid-series.  I had no interest in Izzy's problems with her love life... or her co-council Meg's lack of problems.  Ms. Caldwell's writing is based on her personal experience, which is unique, but I'm not sure wether that helped or hindered the story.  The courtroom scenes were extremely dull.  It also seemed odd that Izzy was given so much responsibility in this case when she has never worked in criminal law before.  I understand that she has a history with the defense attorney, but it her involvement felt random. The Innocence Project also seemed to be extraneous and neither added or detracted from the story. It almost made me wish she'd chosen to tell the story of the cold case over the current one.  I also felt there was a slight legal loophole at the end of the book that was glossed over and oversimplified.

On the whole, I certainly would not recommend this book as a stand alone novel.  However, perhaps it's another story if you are already invested in the characters, and like Ms. Caldwell's writing style.  I for one, will not be reading any more of this series, and perhaps no more from Ms. Caldwell.

Final Take: 2.75/5.0


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