Jenn’s Review of A Game of Proof

I just finished reading A Game of Proof (The trials of Sarah Newby) a British legal thriller by Tim Vacary. I think I got this one for free from  ebookfling and I’m glad I read it. It really was a pretty good story.

Sarah Newby, the lead character, was a single teenaged mom who with sheer ambition and determination worked her way up to a be a criminal barrister in England. The downside is that she focused more on her career than her children; her relationships ultimately becoming very strained and fragile.

At the beginning of the story she is defending a likely guilty man accused of raping his girlfriend. Despite everyone’s unfavorable opinions of her profession, Sarah was there to disprove evidence provided…even if deep down she felt her client had committed the crime. There were plenty of questions she could raise about the evidence, her real problem was how to appeal to the jury, to get them to feel good about acquitting a man who not only looked liked a horrendous thug but probably was one…That was the problem. To question the evidence was easy, to gain the fury’s shymathy…not so easy. Not even slightly easy. Impossible, probably. Well, that’s what I’m paid to do.

The irony comes when shortly after this trial concludes her son Simon is charged with raping and murdering his girlfriend…and she finds that he is connected to the client she just defended. Many also suspect that he is responsible for a string of recent rapes and murders.

This book is very well written. The characters are very well-defined and you can palpate the tension portrayed. Sarah’s family is understandably separated by their own issues and their opinions of Simon’s guilt or innocence. Even Sarah can’t ignore the evidence that links her son to the crimes. However, she puts her reservations aside and decides to defend him…not knowing if that will help or hinder his case.

The book has many twists and turns that flowed nicely. I must say, I had my strong suspicions about the outcome of the story but I enjoyed reading it anyway; it’s the kind of fiction that I like to turn to after reading historical fiction or true crime books.

Even though I knew it was fiction, it still sparked my frustration with the legal system. As Sarah put it, you don’t ask clients if they’re innocent; you ask how they wish to plead. Then you present their case to the best of your ability. The search for truth is conducted by the court and the jury. I’m not sure how lawyers defend people they suspect (or know) are guilty. In this case, I guess it didn’t matter. Her job as a mom came first.

I’ve read that Tim Vacary has two more novels in the Sarah Newby series, A Fatal Verdict and Bold Counsel . I think they will both be on my reading list. The writing reminds me of James Pattersonwith a British flair. Great combination 😉

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