Degrees of Guilt by Patrick Marrinan
|Degrees of Guilt by Patrick Marrinan
|Category: General Fiction
|Reviewer: Sue Magee
|Summary: A good story, particularly the courtroom chapters, but characterisation is a little weak.
|Date: June 2010
|Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd
The Police broke into the apartment in Sandymount Village in Dublin and woke Yuri Komarova rather roughly. He'd been drinking heavily, smoking dope and was difficult to arouse, but on the floor near his bed was the knife which he had apparently used to stab his mother to death. He seemed to have no memory of this but he spoke little English and had the mental age of a twelve-year old. An interpreter helped with the questioning and when the case came to trial his defence relied on proving that he had been sleep-walking at the time of the murder and had no intention of killing his mother. This is the most difficult defence to uphold and there was the added problem that Yuri seemed to have lied to the police when he told them that his mother had very little money as some Russian icons were found in a strongbox and they were worth several million Euros.
The solicitor acting in the case calls upon the services of Blair Armstrong SC, although he's had demons of his own to fight following the death of his wife three years before, but the case intrigues him and there's the additional pull of the Russian interpreter, Marina, who is very beautiful and a part-time model. She seems drawn to Blair too and it's not long before the two are involved in a sexual relationship.
Patrick Marrinan is himself a Senior Counsel and the court scenes ring particularly true, with all the cut and thrust and tactics that are employed in the courtroom, although having a junior counsel and a solicitor who act like naïve children as they swung from concern that Armstrong wasn't doing his job to swooning admiration of his cleverness did take something away from the drama. But the courtroom is the strength of this story.
Characterisation is not strong. Yuri came across to me most strongly, but Blair Armstrong seemed only to succeed by virtue of what we didn't know about him until much later in the book. I certainly couldn't see what appeal Marina held for him, and the other characters seemed largely to fade into one another.
But, if you can put that to one side it is a good story with some neat twists which I wasn't entirely expecting and the outcome left me shocked. It perhaps lacks the gripping power of John Grisham but it's a good story from a man who obviously knows the good and bad sides of his profession well.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Degrees of Guilt by Patrick Marrinan at Amazon.com.
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