Guilty Blood is the latest standalone legal thriller by the author Rick Acker. While the author has two crime-mystery series (each containing two books), his latest novels are all standalones and all legal thrillers (a genre I love).
In Guilty Blood, we meet Brandon Ames, a college student who is in the process of studying in his room when he is picked up by the police and booked on suspicion of murder.
Whom would he have murdered? He has no idea. When he gets his one phone call, he calls his mom and asks for her help.
Jessica Ames is by no means a wealthy person. She is, in fact, quite poor. So she can’t afford any serious legal representation for her son. But then she remembers someone from her past, Nate, a wealthy, sophisticated and quite a sexy lawyer from her past. He and his wife used to be quite close to Jessica and her husband before their spouses’ deaths, after which Jessica and Nate drifted apart. Until now.
When Nate hears Jessica’s voice, he can’t but feel a hint of a faster heartbeat. Afterall, he is feeling something for Jessica, but he can’t act on it. Not with the secrets he is harboring from his past. He agrees to try to help Brandon, but only as a consultant since he is not a criminal lawyer but a corporate litigator, a field with very different rules than required for the one to defend someone.
Brandon is assigned a free legal representative and Nate decides to assist that lawyer in defending Brandon. Jessica wants to also do her part, so the three of them start working the grueling case, while Jason is in prison waiting for his trial.
The story is captivating, suspenseful and quite fast-paced. I love legal thrillers, so I sort of knew what I would get myself into when reading this book, and I have to admit that I was not disappointed.
There was only a hint of the attraction between Nate and Jessica, but the book was by no means a romantic suspense. It was really all business, a clear-cut legal thriller with a defendant, lawyers, prosecutors, police, DNA, and quite the unusual criminals.
I do have to admit, though, that it took me by surprise who the criminals were. The way they were taken down with the help of the autistic-savant, Kevin, whose mind was working on an entirely different level from that of the mere mortals in the book, was delicious. Kevin is one of those hackers who knows no limit in opening the most secure doors. He is, also, in a way, a bit naive, so Nate had to protect him and his family as well from being prosecuted for hacking.
Overall, Guilty Blood, at its over 460 pages, was quite the rewarding read. I was not bored even for a moment and I enjoyed the way Rick Acker sprinkled all those legal and scientific nuggets that he undoubtedly took from his long-time career as a lawyer, to make the book as credible and real-life like as possible.
Guilty Blood by Rick Acker
Published by Waterfall Press
Genres: Legal Thriller