Title: The Guilty One
Author: Lisa Ballantyne
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: Paperback; 480
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Source: Eidelweiss / Publisher
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love a good crime thriller with an ending you won't see coming.
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
An eight-year-old boy is found dead in a playground . . . and his eleven-year-old neighbor is accused of the crime. Leading the defense is London solicitor Daniel Hunter, a champion of lost causes.
A damaged boy from a troubled home, Daniel's young client, Sebastian, reminds Daniel of his own turbulent childhood--and of Minnie, the devoted woman whose love saved him. But one terrible act of betrayal irrevocably shattered their bond.
As past and present collide, Daniel is faced with disturbing questions. Will his sympathy for Sebastian and his own memories blind him to the truth? What happened in the park--and who, ultimately, is to blame for a little boy's death? Rethinking everything he's ever believed, Daniel begins to understand what it means to be wrong . . . and to be the guilty one.
Lisa Ballantyne weaves a story that touches on many issues, from morality to mortality, and from childhood to adulthood. Split between scenes from the past and present, each chapter slowly unravels more of both Daniel and Sebastian's stories. I couldn't help but see the similarities between the two of them. Even when I thought I might know what was going to happen next, one of them would do something that completely rocked my world. Ballantyne shows that sometimes it only takes one person's influence to craft what our childhood will turn into.
From a forensic and courtroom standpoint, I think this book is also very well done. It is almost as if you are living the trial with Daniel and his ward. Every piece of evidence, any motivations, all of it is laid out in a way that is easy and enjoyable to follow. I can't say that I didn't eventually figure out what the ending would be. However the writing was more than enough to keep reading on to the end, and of course I wanted to make sure I was correct.
The Guilty One is a book that is well worth your time. Readers who enjoy a good crime thriller will absolutely be drawn in, but even those who normally don't read this genre (like myself) will find a lot to love. Dealing with human nature and behavior, this is very layered read that still feels like it zips by in no time at all. Give it a place on your reading list. I can guarantee you won't be sorry.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.