[Review] In Doubt by Drusilla Campbell

Posted 26 August, 2014 by DLWhite in Reviews, Writers Read 0 Comments

In Doubt Book Cover In Doubt
Drusilla Campbell
Literary Fiction
Grand Central Publishing
August 26, 2014
NetGalley/Grand Central Publishing

Defense Attorney Sophie Giraudo is about to open a new legal practice in her hometown of San Sebastian, California, when the beloved governer is shot and seriously wounded during a celebration in the town park. The only thing more shocking than the crime itself is the identity of the would-be assassin: a seemingly gentle teenager named Donny. Driven by her desire to understand what could make a person with no history of violence suddenly commit such a terrible act, Sophie reluctantly agrees to take him on as a client, knowing that, at least, it will bring her some income. But soon she realizes that she also has personal motivations for taking the case: a desire to prove to her overbearing mother that she is not the reckless and self-destructive tennager she used to be, to prove to her ex-husband, who happens to be the prosecuting attorney, that she can win her case, and to prove to herself that the traumatic events of her adolescence no longer define her.

As she digs deeper into Donny's past, Sophie begins to suspect that he might not be the cold-blooded killer everyone thinks he is. Does Donny's narcissistic mother really have her son's best interest in mind? Is Donny's mentor who runs Boys Into Men, a program for disadvantaged youths, the altruistic man he claims to be? Is Donny a deranged murderer, or a victim of his circumstances acting out of desperation? As Sophie races to uncover the truth, she is forced to come to terms with her past and to fight for what she knows is right...even if it means risking her reputation and possibly her life.

In Doubt by Drusilla Campbell depicts the story of a defense attorney that unwittingly finds herself in the middle of the biggest crime to ever hit the small town of SanSeb– San Sebastian, California. Danny Crider, fresh out of the Boys into Men Boy’s Home, has shot the governor,hometown hero Maggie Duarte. Crider’s mother, Elena, is especially hurt because she feels a strong connection to the Governor. Elena takes Donny’s crime so seriously that, while she pays for Donny’s defense, she refuses to see him.

Donny is quiet, to a fault. He refuses to assist in his own defense so Sohpia Giraudo, fledgling defense attorney that only took the case for the fee, finds herself digging into Donny’s past for clues. Why did he shoot the Governor? He says he doesn’t know, but how could he aim and shoot and not know why? Sophia surmises that something in his past, specifically something regarding his father’s disappearance from his life, is overbearingly inappropriate and compulsive mother, and Iva and Roman, the couple that own Roman’s Gardens and run Boys into Men.

While I enjoyed reading this novel and trying to figure out the mystery alongside Sophia, I couldn’t help feeling unfulfilled. I feel like so many issues were uncovered but left to wither in the sun. Donny’s stoic silence was an interesting plot point at first but eventually he was just annoying. There was no introspection as to why he wouldn’t speak about his actions. Sophia’s investigator, Camp, whose daughter has been missing for two years– we get a hint that he may have possibly found her, but that glimmer of hope falls a bit flat for me. As did the mention of her childhood rapist, specifically she and Camp walking down to the house where he used to live. If she wasn’t going to ask Camp to find him…. ???

Some characters were very thin- Camp and Ben especially. Brad as well… I just didn’t get him. Anna, in contrast was so vivid I practically had her cast in the movie in mind mind. Iva as well was so sympathetic and empathetic, I really felt for her, especially when she discovered the truth about her husband.

This book can be a lesson in how justice really works. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes without a whole lot of palatable answers. Sometimes justice is just barely served. And sometimes that’s just enough.

I was granted a copy of this novel for review from NetGalley.

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