Unintended Consequences by Marti Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Unintended Consequences by Marti Green is a fictional crime/legal thriller full of suspense and nail biting activity. I had to check before I starting writing this review to make sure this was a work of fiction since it was so believable. It could have been a story of non-fiction since there really is an organizations that tries to exonerate wrongfully convicted individuals and although the story line was a bit twisted, it could have been true. What further adds to the believably of the story is that the main character was at times in turmoil and has uncertainties of whether to take this case and later on to go home to be with her sick son. There are other instances of this kind of 'real world issues' effecting the story too. Luckily Dani had a good head on her shoulders, a great team, and a supportive and understanding husband.
Dani Trumball, an attorney with Help Innocent Prisoners Project (HIPP) receives a letter written by George Calhoun claiming he didn't kill his little girl although he has been in prison over nineteen years and is waiting on Death Row with only six weeks until his execution. Dani normally don't take child murder cases but found she was haunted by Mr. Calhoun's plea of innocence. After going to the meet him, Dani learns some disturbing facts about his conviction including that his attorney at the time didn't order any kind of blood test or DNA test to prove the burnt body of the child found buried in the woods was indeed Mr. Calhoun's daughter, Angelina. The attorney claims he had Mrs. Calhoun's confession saying that her husband killed their little girl and that was enough proof and there was no need to go any further. More importantly Dani learns the answer to some burning questions, such as why Mr. Calhoun kept saying the girl found in the woods wasn't his daughter, why Mrs. Calhoun said that her husband killed Angelina, what really happened to Angelina Calhoun, and why her father remained silent for so long, now all she had to do was prove it.
This wasn't a clear cut case which made it more believable. There were obstacles to overcome and that ever present clicking of the clock counting down the minutes Mr. Calhoun had to live. Then there was the mystery of why the key person ended up dead and who left the death threat on the car of one of the HIPP workers. All this going on while trying to answer the two main questions, if the body found in the woods wasn't Angelina's, then who's was it, and who killed and buried her there. Further adding to the believably of the story was the realization that the system was not perfect and at times it fails. There was also the added acknowledgement that some lawyers are in it for the money and not the best interest of their client as well as the ever so present lack of commitment from those higher up because of political reasons. Even Dani had issues when she was torn between being there for her client and being away from her son, Jonah who has William's Syndrome, a genetic disorder that caused mild retardation, when he became ill.
I totally enjoyed the story which had me turning page after page to see who lives or dies and what happens next. Some of the story was predictable but certainly not all of it and at times had me on the edge of my seat. I think it was well written with a good pace. I felt the main characters were developed sufficiently and I especially felt connected with Dani. I would recommend this to anyone who likes crime/legal thrillers although I would guess that mothers could relate more closely with the characters/story.
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