Guilty Blood, by Rick Acker (Waterfall Press, 2017)
The worst thing in Jessica Ames’s life was losing her husband in a construction accident. Until her son Brandon is arrested for a murder he insists he didn’t commit.
Afraid the public defender assigned to Brandon’s case won’t have the time or skill to prove his innocence, Jessica turns to Nate Daniels, a successful corporate lawyer who’s also a family friend. The feelings that develop between the two can only complicate matters.
Nate, Jessica, and the other lawyer, Sofia, scramble to find witnesses who can point to who really killed the victim, who had ties to an international group of human traffickers, while Brandon tries to survive life in jail.
Guilty Blood is an engaging, well-written legal thriller. It’s a clean read, including a few Christian characters whose faith comes out naturally in the story. Brandon’s doubts about God, and his anger at the injustice in his life, also comes out naturally.
One of the things I appreciated about the novel is that although it deals with horrific subjects like human trafficking and gang warfare, the content is neither sugar-coated nor traumatic. The author does a great job of presenting the realities while providing a “safe” read.
My favourite character is Kevin Fang, a 30-something computer genius on the Autism Spectrum, whose hacking is instrumental in finding many of the keys to the crime. Actually, I picked up this book after “meeting” Kevin in a novella by Rick Acker included in the Kill Zone box set.
The novel talks a lot about DNA and computer hacking, but never in a way that’s skim-worthy or that requires a PhD to understand. The possibilities are interesting—and disturbing.
As well as writing legal thrillers, Rick Acker is a Supervising Deputy Attorney General. For more about the author and his work, visit rickacker.com.
[Review copy from my personal library.]