Innocence by David Hosp

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Innocence by David Hosp

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Action thriller and courtroom drama with a whodunnit element - a good read, particularly for those who don't mind a little violence. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 420 Date: April 2009
Publisher: Pan
ISBN: 978-0330456982

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Scott Finn had been an attorney with one of Boston's most prestigious law firms, but the life wasn't for him and he returned to Charlestown where he spent his youth. He eked out a living from any case he could get but is almost reluctant to take on the case of Vincente Salazar, who's been in prison for fifteen years for a crime which he says that he didn't commit. The victim in the case was a female police officer and the attack left her in a wheelchair: no one in the police department is going to co-operate with Finn if it might mean that the man they believe ruined the life of one their own walks free.

There were added complications. Salazar was a doctor in El Salvador and freely treated the sick and injured from both sides of the warring divide and this left him and his family at risk or retribution from those who didn't like what he did. His flight to the US as an illegal immigrant left him unable to practice medicine legally – and at the mercy of the local gangland bosses who controlled the immigrants.

Against his better judgement Finn finds himself locked into the case and along with Tom Kozlowski, formerly a detective with the Boston Police Department, he tries to keep ahead of the people who would like him and his client dead.

I worry when the book cover flaunts the belief that the story rivals the best in the genre – in this case John Grisham or Scott Turow. It's usually wishful thinking and only leads to disappointment, but in this case the claim does seem to be at least partially justified. Much of this is down to David Hosp's background. He's a lawyer and partner in one of Boston's oldest law firms. He's been personally involved in the case of Stephan Cowans, wrongfully convicted of the shooting and attempted murder of a police officer. Innocence isn't a fictionalised retelling, but it's obvious that the author is familiar with the reactions of the people involved in such cases. Be warned though – don't expect too much action in the courtroom – there's some but not as much as the comparisons might lead you to expect.

It's a good story though, with plenty of layers to peel away and twists which I didn't see coming and the tension ratcheting up with every chapter. The pacing is good and there were times when I was on the edge of my seat wondering how Finn could possibly extract himself from a situation either on the streets or in the courtroom.

There's an obvious empathy with the illegal immigrants and the descriptions of their plight are moving. You'll need a strong stomach to cope with some of the violence meted out by the gang bosses – machetes are not kindly weapons and there's little to worry about when your victims have no legal status in the country. My strongest memory from the book is of these people. Strangely enough the person who has left the most shadowy memory is Scott Finn himself and I'd really like to have known him a little better.

That's nit-picking though. I enjoyed the book far more than I expected to and David Hosp is going to be someone to watch out for in the future.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If courtroom dramas appeal to you then we think that you might enjoy The Appeal by John Grisham. For more about illegal immigration we can recommend Fleshmarket Close by Ian Rankin and Bleed a River Deep by Brian McGilloway.

Buy Innocence by David Hosp at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Innocence by David Hosp at

Buy Innocence by David Hosp at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Innocence by David Hosp at


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