Book Review | Claim of Innocence
Author: Laura Caldwell
Amanda Miller was a beautiful young woman, one shining point in a long-time triumvirate of friends that included Bridget Shanahan and Valerie Solara. She had a handsome and successful young husband, two beautiful daughters and what seemed like the perfect life. Now Amanda is dead and Valerie Solara is on trial for her murder.
Izzy McNeil is an accomplished civil lawyer. After a year off for personal heartbreak and other things she’d dearly love to forget, she is walking back into a courtroom to help her friend, Maggie Bristol, try a high-profile criminal case, along with Maggie’s grandfather, Martin Bristol, one of the foremost names in Chicago criminal law. She has a hot young boyfriend and a new relationship with her mysterious father who has recently reappeared in her life. Life is finally good again. She strides purposefully into the courthouse, knowing that this is the proverbial first day of the rest of her life. And then her cell phone rings.
The phone call is from Izzy’s old boyfriend, Sam, the guy who just about left her at the altar a year ago. He’s calling to tell her that he’s getting married. . . but he won’t if she doesn’t want him to. Huh? She manages to shake it off and arrives at counsel table. Maggie looks intense. Martin looks. . . well, he doesn’t look good. As she scrambles to quickly prepare the jury voir dire, she sees the defendant for the first time and Valerie Solara impacts Izzy’s now frail emotions in a way she never expected.
She can’t shake the look in Valerie’s eyes. She also knows that in criminal law you simply don’t get involved with your defendant. Nevertheless, Izzy offers herself to be a sounding board for Valerie. She can’t help herself. She knows that something isn’t right, that something is missing. She knows that if she can figure it out, she will have the solution to the mystery of who killed Amanda Miller. Through it all, Izzy will finally come to terms with her life as her past and her future collide.
Claim of Innocence, written by former trial lawyer Laura Caldwell, is a tense, well-written courtroom drama. There are plenty of back stories to keep you interested in between the courtroom scenes and its heroine, Izzy McNeil, is a character you can fall in love with. She is an attorney, yes, but she’s also your daughter, your sister and your best friend. In short, she’s real.
Claim of Innocence has some profane language (appropriate to the story line) and subject matter that may be disturbing to some readers. Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed Claim of Innocence and will definitely be looking for more from author Laura Caldwell.
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*