Conclusive Evidence by Al Macy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
First and foremost, this book kept my attention and it was difficult to put down. I kept wanting to read, and I ended up finishing it in a matter of days, not weeks.
The main character is Garret Goodlove, a former criminal defense attorney who is now practicing family law until his twin sister is accused of murdering her husband in which case he is hired to defend her at the criminal trial. Much of what the police have is circumstantial in nature, but it doesn't help that Carly ( his deaf twin sister and the accused) is videotaped using sign language to another deaf friend that she would like to push her husband off a cliff. That is exactly how he died, or so it appears. The reader gets the sense that Carly did not commit the crime, but proving it may not be easy.
The long cast of characters includes the attorney, his partner Jen, his daughter Nicole who is in law school, his bipolar son Toby, his investigator Louella, his twin sister Carly who is deaf, her ex-husband Angelo who is involved in some shady dealings, an aging judge, a mistress, a crooked cop, a sexy district attorney, and a few other supporting characters to provide law enforcement, villains, and witnesses. While I liked most of the characters, the author tried a little too hard to humanize the main character based on experiences in his past, but did not connect this very well to current events. Also, the investigator, a short, overweight, chain-smoking woman, was entertaining yet completely unrealistic. And the two attorneys having a tryst? I'm not buying it.
There were too many coincidences in the book that were too obvious. I liked that there were little surprises throughout the book instead of revealing them all at the end because it kept me wanting to read, but some of them, such as the discovery of a dummy in a woman's home left me groaning. It was too contrived.
Some of the subplots included details about Garret's deceased wife, Carly's deafness, Carly's deceased daughter, Garret's depression, Toby's psychological problems, and Angelo's nefarious dealings. It was a little too much. Focusing on one or two of those might have lent itself to better characterization, but when there are so many, they become superficial and lack meaning. Also, the company shenanigans at DialUSA did not get explained adequately.
Overall, I liked it, and it was easy to read.
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