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Actual Innocence by Barry Siegel
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Actual Innocence

by Barry Siegel

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A fast-paced and enjoyable tale of legal suspense, Actual Innocence introduces attorney Greg Monarch who receives from his friend Judge Solman a habeus corpus petition. The petitioner is Greg's old girlfriend and convicted murderess, Sarah Trant. While looking in to Sarah's case, Greg discovers there is much more going on behind the scenes in the small town of El Nido.
Author Barry Siegel certainly seems to know what he's talking about when it come to legal procedure, but his writing is unpredictable. Gripping and tight during scenes of casual interaction, the suspense builds to where the reader is sure something untoward is about to happen to the hero....then nothing does. The action jumps forward in time without concluding what was just going on. Of course, to come to a natural conclusion would give away too much of the "mystery" of the plot.
The plot itself is interesting as well as plausible, if a little predictable. The characters are well-developed and believable, although the author's attempt at a romance for his protagonist seems awkward. There doesn't need to be romance in mystery novels, but if you're going to put it in, at least have it pay off.
The only other thing I'd like to comment about with regards to this book is that the surnames of most of the main characters seem a little...off...or truncated. It's almost as if this was at one point a true story and the names have been manipulated slightly in order to become "fiction." I'm tempted to surmise that Gest, Mashburn, Trant, Solman, and Sanborn were originally Guest, Washburn, Trent, Soloman, and Sandborn. There's no similar story that I can find on Google, though... ( )
  EmScape | Mar 25, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345413105, Mass Market Paperback)

California lawyer Greg Monarch was in no mood for visitors. But it's not every day a federal judge comes knocking at his door, especially with a curious request: to review the final appeal of a murderer on Death Row who personally asked for Greg's assistance. Tired of defending killers, Greg has every intention of turning the case down--until he discovers the prisoner is a former lover he hasn't seen in two decades: the fiery, impetuous Sarah Trant.

Her fate determined in a verdict rendered five years before, Sarah was found guilty of slashing an old man's throat in central California's sheltered El Nido Valley. All subsequent appeals have been denied. Now, six months from execution, she turns to the one man she hopes can save her. Greg failed once before trying to rescue Sarah from her private demons. This time, however, the demons may not be just in her head. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:03 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Lawyer Greg Monarch of California overcomes his reluctance and reopens a murder case which sent his former lover to Death Row. The woman is mentally unstable, hence his reluctance, but it is a worthwhile effort as it transpires she was framed.

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