The most recent read for my village book group was The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantine. I had never read anything by this author before, but part of the fun of a book group is to read new authors and genres you might otherwise not encounter.
Daniel Hunter has spent years defending lost causes as a solicitor in London. But his life changes when he is introduced to Sebastian, an eleven-year-old accused of murdering an innocent young boy.
As he plunges into the muddy depths of Sebastian's troubled home life, Daniel thinks back to his own childhood in foster care - and to Minnie, the woman whose love saved him, until she, too, betrayed him so badly that he cut her out of his life.
But what crime did Minnie commit that made Daniel disregard her for fifteen years? And will Daniel's identification with a child on trial for murder make him question everything he ever believed in?
The story of Daniel Hunter in The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantine tells of the story of a little boy whose home life is chaotic. As a result of this he is in and out of foster care until he is finally adopted by Minnie.
Daniel does eventually come good and qualifies as a lawyer who regularly represents poor children who are accused of serious crimes. It is in this capacity that he meets Sebastian who has been charged of the murder of another young boy in his neighbourhood. Although Sebastian comes from a rich home and Daniel's home was a very poor one, the lawyer empathises with his client. He also recalls many of the difficulties he faced during his mother and the idiosyncrasies of his life with Minnie.
I found this novel a bit disjointed as it jumps from the present day, to Danny's life with his mother and on to his life with Minnie. It made the novel difficult to follow. I also thought the ending was somewhat predictable. However, for all that the book has merit and for those interested in mysteries, it may be entertaining.
Lisa Ballantyne lives in Glasgow and is the author of the Edgar-Award Nominated 'The Guilty One', which was translated into nearly thirty languages, as well as the bestsellers 'Good Bad Love' (first published as 'Redemption Road') 'Little Liar' and 'Once Upon a Lie'. Her new novel,'The Innocent One' is now available to pre-order.