Newest Review: ... been two years since that life became his past. Scott had it all, a flourishing partnership at a law firm, flash car, house, beautiful wife... more
Galveston, oh Galveston...
Accused - Mark Gimenez
Member Name: jeffjen
Accused - Mark Gimenez
Advantages: Good thriller, well written, interesting.
Disadvantages: A little unrealistic in places.
Despite still trying to come to terms with her leaving him suddenly for another man and thus abandoning both himself and their daughter, Scott agrees to represent Rebecca in court. As he prepares to defend his ex-wife, Scott is forced to question everything he believes to get to the truth and save the life of the ex-wife he still loves.
'Accused' is a legal thriller by author Mark Gimenez who has written four other legal thrillers and is described as 'the next Grisham' by The Times.
Reading the blurb on the cover made this book sound an interesting read and along with the 'next Grisham' tag there was further praise such as 'one of the best legal thrillers since Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent' and 'gripping read with unexpected twists' included on the cover. A page-turning thriller with a few twists is right up my street and so I was looking forward to reading this, particularly as I had neither heard of nor read, any of this author's work prior to buying this book.
The story begins with Rebecca waking up to find she is soaked in her boyfriend's blood as he lies dead next to her with a knife stuck in his chest at their home in Galveston.
Meanwhile 300 miles away, Scott Fenney is starting an early morning run. As he runs past the mansion he used to call home, he again reminds himself it has been two years since that life became his past. Scott had it all, a flourishing partnership at a law firm, flash car, house, beautiful wife of eleven years and a young daughter.
Now two years on, Scott has no wife and is a poor lawyer. All his material possessions are gone, as he is no longer a partner in the law firm (the reasons for which are explained) and whilst it is not something Scott regrets and he is still a lawyer, he would however, like to be able to give his daughters more than he does.
I say daughters because not only is Scott a father to 11 year old daughter Barbara (Boo) but he also adopted Pajamae after he defended her mother against a murder charge and won, only to see her die of an overdose two months later, leaving Pajamae with nobody.
Scott has struggled however, to come to terms with his wife sudden departure, leaving him and their daughter behind to be with another man. Boo has come to terms with her mother leaving and not being in her life anymore, but Scott has found it more difficult to move one, even though his daughters have decided he should be finding another woman.
So when Rebecca rings asking Scott for help, he agrees. The reason being he thinks he owes her as she didn't take their daughter with her when she left, which he sees as an act of kindness, which right away I felt cynical about as I read this.
Scott rents a beach house in Galveston for a month and takes his legal team, his daughters and their cook/cleaner with them and I instantly became irritated by this because it was as if the author had forgot that lawyer A. Scott Fenney was in fact meant to be broke!
Other things which annoyed me whilst reading the book were Scott's daughter Boo constantly referring to her father as 'A. Scott' all the time whenever she spoke to him or referred to him and also the character of Rebecca Fenney, but of course you are not meant to like her as after all, what mother could just abandon her daughter like that and have no more contact? Rebecca Fenney comes across as self-centred and materialistic but ultimately terrified of going to prison. She states she is innocent and Scott believes her from the off, but proving her innocence is going to be far more difficult, as her prints are all over the murder weapon in such a way that it shows the knife was held in a stabbing position.
It was easy to dislike Rebecca, not just for what she did, but also for the way she is. Whilst she builds some bridges with her daughter, she also thinks she can just resume her old relationship with her ex-husband and this is something Scott struggles with as he tries not to succumb to her charms all over again. The weaker side to his character is shown and I found I was willing him to tell her where to go, as I liked his character and wanted him to wake up and smell the coffee where Rebecca was concerned.
Everyone else bar Scott is not enamoured by Rebecca and although Scott believes her innocence, his colleagues who are also close friends, are not as quick to believe.
I really didn't think I was going to enjoy this book after the first few pages, but there is something about the writing style which held my interest and I found that I was actually enjoying reading the book despite my doubts. The characterisation is really good and there are some good supporting characters here such as those of Nick the sports agent and Shelby, the ambitious female judge.
The story didn't become bogged down with any legal jargon, indeed everything was kept simple and explained well enough so the reader isn't left puzzled at all. I also enjoyed the history of Galveston, which again was kept simple and interesting (although I kept thinking of the Glen Campbell song each time it was mentioned!)
There were some twists, one of which was particularly interesting and although some parts of the story were a little predictable there were parts that weren't and so it remained an interesting read throughout. Of course there was an undercurrent running alongside the case in regards to Scott and Rebecca where you are always wondering will they, or won't they get back together and I was willing the outcome of this to be the latter.
Gimenez describes well how Scott is forced to doubt his ex-wife at times and as more and more background to her life and that of her golfer boyfriends' is exposed, Scott wonders if he ever really knew her at all, but she is quick to try and reassure him and profess her innocence at every turn.
As the reader I found I was kept guessing in regards to her innocence, which is something I enjoy, although at no point did I ever feel sorry for her I have to say and think this was because there was nothing to actually like about her character.
There were a couple of surprises at the end and overall I enjoyed this book, although it still seemed unrealisitic that a broke lawyer could afford what he did in regards to taking on the case and also the fact his daughter referred to him as A.Scott all the time without it irritating him!
At 562 pages this thriller is slightly longer than average, but at no point did it become tedious and so credit must be given to the author for a well-written and interesting thriller which held my interest throughout.
Summary: A decent thriller from Mark Gimenez which held my interest despite a couple of flaws.