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Actual Innocence by Edward Asner,Barry Siegel
ISBN: 0787121835
ISBN13: 978-0787121839
Author: Edward Asner,Barry Siegel
Book title: Actual Innocence
Other Formats: lit doc docx azw
Publisher: Dove Entertainment Inc; Abridged edition (November 1, 1999)
Language: English
Size PDF version: 1499 kb
Size ePub version: 1338 kb
Size fb2 version: 1809 kb
Category: Thrillers & Suspense

To clear the name of his former lover, Sarah Trant, a convicted murderer on death row, attorney Greg Monarch journeys to a seemingly idyllic California community where his investigations uncover an evil web of long-hidden deception and secrets.

Books reviews
Always a good read.
This was beyond all doubt, the most disappointing book I have read in years. In fact, I must admit I did not finish "Actual Innocence". I gave up and gave it to Goodwill! Was this reallly the same author who produced "Death in White Bear Lake"? Oh well.....
A fast-paced and enjoyable tale of legal suspense, Actual Innocence introduces attorney Greg Monarch who receives from his friend Judge Solman a habeus corpus petition. The petitioner is Greg's old girlfriend and convicted murderess, Sarah Trant. While looking in to Sarah's case, Greg discovers there is much more going on behind the scenes in the small town of El Nido.
Author Barry Siegel certainly seems to know what he's talking about when it come to legal procedure, but his writing is unpredictable. Gripping and tight during scenes of casual interaction, the suspense builds to where the reader is sure something untoward is about to happen to the hero....then nothing does. The action jumps forward in time without concluding what was just going on. Of course, to come to a natural conclusion would give away too much of the "mystery" of the plot.
The plot itself is interesting as well as plausible, if a little predictable. The characters are well-developed and believable, although the author's attempt at a romance for his protagonist seems awkward. There doesn't need to be romance in mystery novels, but if you're going to put it in, at least have it pay off.
The only other thing I'd like to comment about with regards to this book is that the surnames of most of the main characters seem a little...off...or truncated. It's almost as if this was at one point a true story and the names have been manipulated slightly in order to become "fiction." I'm tempted to surmise that Gest, Mashburn, Trant, Solman, and Sanborn were originally Guest, Washburn, Trent, Soloman, and Sandborn. There's no similar story that I can find on Google, though...
The title of L.A. Times reporter Siegel's second legal thriller refers to an actual legal term intending not only to find fault with the state's case but to prove "actual" innocence. A novel idea.

His series protagonist, successful California defense attorney Greg Monarch might be wiser to refer his emotionally troubled old flame Sarah Trant's death row appeal to someone more neutral, but even a little poking around stirs up a murk of conspiracy and corruption in the small Eden-like community of El Nido.

When he finally gets past the stonewalling of the sheriff and DA, he discovers that the wealthy rancher who seems so sympathetic to Sarah was the prosecution's star witness, recipient of the dying man's last accusatory words. Better yet, a look at the autopsy photos shows a severed carotid artery - the man could not have spoken.

Withheld evidence, doctored reports, witness tampering - a miscarriage of justice could hardly be more easy to prove. But whatever the powers-that-be in El Nido are trying to hide, it binds enemies together in a conspiracy of silence. Monarch finds his case falling apart on the witness stand.

Tense courtroom drama, an underlying sense of menace and a mystery that grows more labyrinthine with every development makes this a well-written page-turner.
Greg Monarch is a Chumash County, CA, lawyer who has grown more than a little jaded at freeing the guilty even as he accepts an award as the county's top defense attorney. Against his wishes, he is drawn into a final death-row appeal by a Federal judge who is intrigued by the hand-written habeas corpus motion the convict has filed. When it turns out that the prisoner is an old romantic flame, Sarah Trent, Monarch is drawn further in, ultimately fighting for Sarah's post-conviction relief on the grounds of actual innocence.

In the course of the story, we enter the hidden little valley community of El Nido, fiercely protected by its citizens, chief of whom is Diana Sanborn, granddaughter of the community's founder. From the start, Monarch runs into obstacles that lead him deeper into Sarah's case, and obvious prosecutorial misconduct, but also into the dim history of El Nido, and some secret that seems to have become entangled in the murder for which Sarah waits to die.

Legal machinations, hidden histories, shadowy conspiracies, an approaching execution - author Siegel weaves all this together with multifaceted characters that one comes to care for. An excellent read.
Having four leisurely days of holiday in Singapore this was exactly the sort of book I needed; a very well written, fast paced thriller.
Attorney Greg Monarch is handed a "final appeal"of a woman sentenced to death for murder by a federal judge who, although not seeing exactly how to appeal legally senses that there is some truth in the story of the women.
It turns out that the simple murder case was part of a conspiracy much beyond what was obvious in the first place and it turns into a story of greed and selfishness of a whole community.
Mr.Siegel, like in his first book, has a tremendous capability of drawing believable characters into a well conceived storyline. A book which entertains and will not dissapoint.
It is not a story of good guys versus bad guys ( although there are some genuinely despicable people) but more of a number of people in doubt of the right course to take leading to enormous consequences.
Highly recommendable indeed for a couple of hours next to a swimming pool!
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