Wednesday, January 27, 2016

UNREASONABLE DOUBT (Constable Molly Smith # 8)
Vicki Delany
Poisoned Pen Press
February 2, 2016

Walt Desmond has served 25 years in prison for the brutal killing of a young woman in Trafalgar, BC. All along he protested that he was innocent, refusing to confess even though that might have lessened his sentence somewhat. His wife died while he was in prison and he has lost everything. However, new evidence has turned up indicating either the Trafalgar PD framed him or the investigation was completely incompetent. After he is exonerated, Walt's attorney advises him to stay away from Trafalgar but Walt returns anyway. He has a pretty good idea who might have framed him but needs to know why in order to get on with his life, despite a large cash settlement coming his way.

Molly Smith was no more than an infant when the original case occurred, but if Walt Desmond didn't kill the girl, then who did? She and Sargeant John Winters are assigned to reopen the case. Feelings are running high in Trafalgar between those who remember the case and think Walt was guilty, despite his exoneration, and those who think the police were responsible. Among those most upset are the family of the dead girl, who are adamant that he was guilty. Molly and Winters must walk a tightrope between the factions, some within the police department itself. When two women are attacked in Trafalgar; one of whom is Eliza, Winters' wife, feelings begin to boil over.

Unreasonable Doubt is a nice mix of police procedural and the personal lives of Molly and her family and that of John Winters. I have really grown to like the characters over the course of the series, especially Lucky, Molly's mom. Lucky came to Canada with Molly's father during the Vietnam War and never went back. They built a successful life in Canada and Lucky's politics never changed. She is involved in every protest, knows everyone in town, and is a shrewd judge of character. I think Delany did a particularly good job in showing just what it is like to lose 25 years of your life for a crime you did not commit. Sadly, Canada does not seem to do much better than the US in these cases, of which there are too many. A nice cash payout is good, but hardly compensation for a ruined life.

Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and for an advance digital copy in return for an honest review.

RATING- 4 Stars

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