Author: Drusilla Campbell
Type of book: Psychology, boundary issues, legal thriller, California, appearances, small town, secrets, PTSD, modern times, lawyer, realism
Year it was published: 2014
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.
I really did wish that there was more focus on Donny's mother as well as Donny himself as character because they were very interesting people and I wanted to understand more about them. Sophie Giraudo is one of the main characters, a thirty-five year old divorced woman who has a complex relationship with her own mother and is trying to deal with some traumatic events as well. She is best described as determined and impatient. Donny is also a main character although not much is shown from his view. He is very fragile both psychologically and emotionally and has talent for plants. He also has complex issues with authority figures in his life. Elena is Donny's mother and she is wealthy, vain and pretentious, caring more for appearances than her flesh and blood. I have to say that she was the most interesting character. She is also a liar and is very determined not to let go of Donny.
Nothing can be tied with a bow
The story itself is in third person narrative from various characters' points of view, although most of it is from Sophie Giraudo who is trying to prove to everyone that she's a capable woman as well as give Donny a chance she feels he deserves. There is also great deal of focus on psychology and the reader gets only snippets of various characters, which can be unfortunate because I did want to know more about Donny's mother. The strengths of the story included dialogue and realistic yet engaging situations. What might or might not be a weakness (depends on what the reader wants from the book) is that its realistic and nothing is neatly tied up with a bow.
Drusilla Campbell lives in San Diego with her husband, the lawyer-poet-professor, Art Campbell, two rescued dogs and four horses. She was born in Melbourne, Australia and came to California when she was six years old. Before that she criss-crossed the United States by train and car with her brave and resourceful mother and mostly adorable baby brother. She had sailed the Pacific Ocean three times before starting first grade and knew how to run down a pitching outside deck and come to a sliding, slamming stop against a bulkhead, laughing the whole time. She grew up in the Santa Clara Valley in the halcyon days before the dot com magnates discovered it, attended San Jose State University, and then started traveling again. She taught in Melbourne, London and at a remote jungle outpost in Panama before settling down and marrying. While living in Washington, DC she got a Masters Degree in Broadcast Journalism from the American University and went to work for NPR's major DC affiliate, WAMU-fm. She has two sons, Rocky and Matt, and three grandchildren who are smarter, more intelligent and entertaining than anyone elses. The dogs, the horses, the family and friends and writing books keep her happily in one place.
Drusilla is an award winning author of 16 published novels, including the best-selling and award winning novels, The Good Sister, Blood Orange, and Bone Lake. Her latest novel, Little Girl Gone from Grand Central Publishing, is available is available January 31, 2012. you
This really wasn't a light read, and it seemed to ask more questions than it answered. Also, if you are looking for happy endings then its not the right book: however, if you are looking for something dark and realistic, its the right book to enjoy. I did enjoy reading the book and getting to know the unique characters that populated these pages. Some of the events that have happened were twisters, I wasn't expecting them. I did often wish to get to know Sophie, but I guess I have to be satisfied with the glimpses I got of her. Also as well, there really aren't any romance subplots, which isn't a complaint because once in a while its nice to read a book that shows off different aspects of being a woman other than love issues.
This was given to me by McKinneyPR for an honest review
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)