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Innocence    by David Hosp order for
by David Hosp
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

We first met lawyer Scott Finn in David Hosp's Dark Harbor. There, he came under suspicion of the murder of a colleague that was under investigation by police lieutenant Linda Flaherty and her Neanderthal partner, Tom Kozlowski. Though it was touch and go for a time, Finn was cleared. He left the prestigious law firm where he and the murder victim had worked, Linda ended up as his lover, and Kozlowski left the police force to work as a PI, usually for Finn.

I welcomed revisiting Scott Finn in Innocence and was in no way disappointed. As the book opens, his situation has changed. Finn has set up his own law firm. Linda has moved to D.C., working for the Department of Homeland Security, their relationship still unresolved. Quirky, foul-mouthed Lissa Krantz, the law student Finn hired as an intern in the previous book, is developing an interest in Koz, and their romance progresses nicely in this episode.

The action begins after Finn is asked by Mark Dobson, an associate with his old law firm, to work with him on a pro bono case on behalf of a man Dobson believes to be innocent. Fifteen years before, Vincente Salazar, an El Salvadoran illegal and a skilled physician, was convicted of a vicious attack on a policewoman that left her in a wheelchair for life. He was sentenced to fifty years without parole, and his daughter Rosita, an infant at the time of his arrest, was blinded after falling from her high chair when the police broke into their apartment.

Finn reluctantly agrees to get involved in a request for a DNA test, that was not done during the original trial. That gets him, his friends and co-workers into a mess of trouble, punctuated by regular surprises (not always helpful to the defence) as the evidence is re-examined. There are crooked cops, regular threats, murders, a violent street gang named VDS whose weapon of choice is the machete - and the reader learns early that Koz is holding back information from his friend and colleague.

I enjoyed the technicalities on eyewitness identification, the accuracy of fingerprints and DNA tests, the summary of the work of the New England Innocence Project at the back of the book, and also the fact that David Hosp twisted his plot in many unexpected - and sometimes explosive - directions. Innocence is an engrossing, fast-moving, and often thought-provoking legal thriller.

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