Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Joseph Finder: High Crimes

In his novel High Crimes, Joseph Finder explores the length that one woman will go to in order to save her husband's life even if it turns out that he is a man that knew nothing about.

Claire Chapman has a great life. She is successful lawyer with a teaching practice at one of the most prestigious law schools in the country, she was able to find a great man after her first husband died, her life could not be better. But Claire's life is about to be turned upside down by the FBI who are not interested in her but in her husband Tom Chapman. Tom Chapman is not the man that Claire had married, it was not even his real name. He had been hiding everything from her, his past, his role in the military, everything. Tom has been charged with killing 87 indigenous people, women and children, on a South America mission. Claire may not have known her husband's past but she know who he is and is not about to let him face the charges without her. But Clarie soon realizes that the Military is still the "Old Boys Club" who will protect their secrets and superiors at any cost. Claire is about to get a lesson in Military Law and Practices some of which are legal and illegal.

I have not read too many courtroom thriller novels. I do not know why I shied away from this genre before, but I was completely hooked while reading this book. I think that Finder has found himself a new follower for the courtroom thriller. With an interesting and twisting storyline, Finder was able to draw me in, and capture the courtroom aspect as well as create well defined characters.

This book was a great mixture of mystery and courtroom drama. With each new piece of evidence that is uncovered you discover more and more of the conspiracy that the government is able to undertake to protect it's secrets. There are many twists and turns and you are never really sure who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. There are strong cases on each side, but you never know how far lawyers and the government are willing to manipulate the evidence.

I like Claire for the most part as main character. I think that Finder did a good job of creating a strong lawyer, but also an individual who struggles in her home life. She is killer in the courtroom and presents a strong female lead who is willing to even go after the military in order to safe her husband. However, Claire did not cross the line from strong female to Bitchy. She was willing to receive advice and help from people who knew the military court system better than her. I am glad that Finder was able to find this balance and not cross that line. Claire also showed that she was more concerned about her husband than her daughter at times, and Finder did a good job of showing this dismissal actions of Annabell's.

The only part that became a little redundant is you knew that the defense was going to have an answer for everything. This only became a little bit of a hindrance to the story in the latter part of the book, as you knew that Kate was going to introduce evidence only to have it shot down. As I said it got a little bit redundant, but it fit the flow of the courtroom and the story line that Finder had set out. Also I am unsure if it means something different in the USA but voir dire in Canada means a trail within a trial, i'm unsure if Finder was using the right words for the context that they were written but as I said it might be different between the two countries.

This was a really good read (I can see why it was made into a movie, also by the same name with Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. I have not seen the movie, but I may have to look it up now) and I know that I will read another book by Finder as well as explore more courtroom thriller authors out there (suggestions welcome). I feel like Finder has opened me up to a genre that needs to be explored.


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1 comment:

  1. I didn't know this was made into a movie. I like Joseph Finder's books and this one looks good. Thanks for the review.