Book Review: Unintended Consequences, by Marti Green

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A Suspenseful Surprise.

Unintended Consequences may turn out to be the surprise of the summer. A debut novel, a new name, to me at least, and a captivating plot that drew me right in.  Marti Green has written an edge-of-seat legal thriller with her first novel, published in 2013.

I picked up my copy at Audible.  The summary sounded interesting, so I thought I’d give it a try.  Book two is already in my cart now.  What an enjoyable, suspenseful story.

The series is called the Innocent Prisoners Project.  That spells it out.  The main character, Dani Trumbull, is an attorney who works for Help Innocent Prisoners Project (HIPP).  Part of her responsibility has been to go through cases to decide which to accept.  The cases, death penalty convictions, where her office may be their last hope.

Enter George Calhoun, scheduled for execution in six weeks for killing his own daughter.  He has always claimed it was not his daughter, but would never tell what had happened to her.  After being imprisoned for 19 years, he hopes HIPP will take his appeal.  Convicted based on his wife’s confession that they had indeed killed their child, the investigation itself was lax, without even a blood test to confirm the body was the daughter.

Dani finally agrees to take on the case.

That begins a bizarre tale of appeal after appeal, leads that go no where, and difficulty finding the truth at every turn.  With little time left, they can’t afford to lose an hour, yet each potential clue seems to take them in a direction they hadn’t expected, taking more time than they have.

Then the threats begin to Dani’s team.  Why does someone want to stop them? Who would want to stop them?   Is it to see George executed or to hide the truth that could prove his innocence?

Legal Representation, Then and Now

As much as I’d love to write more about the story, part of the enjoyment of this book is getting caught up in the unveiling.  Better to learn as Dani and her legal team get the facts.  She gives us many points for consideration, legally and morally.  What constitutes fair representation, for one thing.  True, methods have changed over the past two decades.  But in any case, how difficult is it if your lawyer doubts your innocence?

I couldn’t  stop listening.  Finally gave up and decided to just keep going to see how it ended.  There are a ton of unexpected twists included, plenty of tension as you begin to feel the clock ticking down.  A few times the directions they went seemed unrealistic, with obvious things they should have done.  That  didn’t detract for the suspense.  Knowing there are more steps to take, more people to find, more places to be, while George sits in a cell awaiting death in a very few days.

Personally I have mixed emotions about the death penalty.  No matter where you stand on the issue, I think you would appreciate the story here.  I hope you don’t let that get in your way.  She includes some of both sides in it, but no one would want someone innocent to be executed.  The countdown of that adds to the excitement and the tension as little else can.

Marti Green was a lawyer, though practicing corporate law. Since she grew up reading, finally leaning toward legal thrillers such as Scott Turow, she wanted her character to be a strong woman attorney in the genre.  If her first book is anything to go by, there will be many of us hoping she continues with Dani Trumbull.

There is already a second book in the series, Presumption of Guilt, was released in November of 2014.  Her third novel is scheduled for release July 21st, the title, The Price of Justice.  It is available for pre-order here.

Presumption of Guilt


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

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Author: Merry

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