Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Have faith in your convictions...
"Benefit of the Doubt" begins with Harlan Lee's release from prison. He served a seventeen-year-stretch and during that time his father passed away leaving Harlan angry at the world.
He murders a woman in the early part of the story and we learn that this is a step in his settling an old score.
A parallel story concerns Ben Sawyer, a big city cop in Oakland, California. There is an incident and he comes to the aide of a fellow cop who yelled that the suspect had taken his (the other cop's) gun. Ben pulls the suspect off the cop. The suspect knows he's beaten and surrenders to Ben but Ben let's his anger get the best of him. What he does next is captured by a number of cell phone cameras and Ben is forced to resign in disgrace.
He relocates to Newberg and joins the police there. His father-in-law is chief of police and Ben begins work as a detective supervisor. Ben isn't liked or appreciated by most of the other cops who feel he didn't deserve the position.
Ben does begin doing a credible work but his father-in-law has a stroke and Ben loses the person protecting him on the job.
Harlan Lee continues his revenge and in one of his crimes, Ben's wife, Alex, is made to look like the main suspect.
The story moves nicely and the writing keeps the reader's avid attention as we follow Ben's attempt to do his job and defend his wife. During this time, we also observe the corruption within the Newberg Police Department.
The novel is interesting as the author, Neal Griffin, describes how Ben has to continue with his work on the job. There is increasing drug activity in Newberg but only one member of the department thinks Ben is doing a good job and wants to help.
The reader will feel sympathetic for what Ben is going through and wonder how he will overcome the difficulties placed in his way. There is also the question of Ben's marriage and how will that survive.
The characters are well depicted as is the politics of the police department. We hope for Ben's success and wonder if he can succeed against tremendous odds.
I received a copy of this novel in return for my honest review.