I recently read a novel by Morton Reed called, “Proof of Innocence,” which is a legal suspense thriller. It takes place in California, U.S.A. In the early 90’s and is about a young boy who is accused of attempting to kill his severely abusive father while his father was in bed sleeping.
While I found this book to be very entertaining in various ways, I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone as it depicts horrific violence in graphic detail.
Serious domestic violence /abuse, extreme child & spousal abuse, horrific sexual violence.
At some points I wanted to put the book down and quit reading .
Some parts are deeply disturbing.
I have experienced domestic abuse and while it’s not nearly as bad as the abuse carried out by the character in the book, I can still relate in so many ways, especially to the emotional abuse, extreme anger outbursts, horrific threats…
It’s terrifying and painful to people who have experienced it and can be triggering. I’m not triggered, but still it’s disturbing.
But there are many insights and valuable lessons conveyed in this book.
Some themes are:
❤ Risking it all for love (platonic & romantic)
❤ Hopelessness & restored hope
❤ Deep friendship
❤ How one life can impact another and how one person can suddenly, unexpectedly walk into another person’s life and change it for the better.
❤ Justice and what it is to be just
❤ Self exploration
❤ Trusting others
❤ Never giving up on people even when they are difficult
❤ Emotional scars and learning to live happily with them
❤ Insecurity & confidence
❤ Seeing humanity & potential even in very troubled people/criminals
❤ The benefits of psychotherapy
Some lessons I find to be valuable which are conveyed throughout the book are:
❤ We should learn to trust ourselves and when we learn that, it won’t matter so much what others do, say, or think about us. If people fail us, deceive us, or try to rip us off, we will have ourselves to fall back on and survive no matter what. We can learn to be strong, capable, and competent.
❤ Mistakes often say nothing about who the person is. Even great people make mistakes.
❤ Not all people who are considered by society to be lost causes, losers, or failures, are bad people.
❤ The past doesn’t have to imprison us.
❤ Sharing our stories of pain can truly help us
My favorite character in the book is a confident defense attorney who tries to get the boy accused of attempted murder, to be found not guilty.
In the book, there is a flash back to the day this lawyer cross examined a police officer/detective in a courtroom.
Most of the details are not relevant to my post so I will not go into them too much but will provide a brief description.
This defense attorney, a strong, confident woman is cross examining a police officer and asking him questions regarding a confession.
This officer is being questioned as to whether a confession provided by an arrested person was really completely voluntary or coerced by police.
He assures the lawyer that the police did no such coercion and that the arrested person did in fact confess voluntarily.
But the officer is frustrated, forgetful, contradicts himself, and is awkward in this moment, among other things.
He is uncomfortable with her questioning and it really shows. As soon as she dismisses him, he runs out of the courtroom, quickly.
She later contacts him and has this to say:
“I wanted to let you know that, like you, I was just doing my job. Also, like you, I’m very good at it. On that day you weren’t so hot. Someday I won’t be so hot, either. It’s like the tennis pros say: ‘ anybody can beat anybody on any given day.'”
I love this and it’s so true. Each one of us will have occasions of winning, being our best, coming out on top, and owning it but then we’ll also have those occasions of falling, losing, seemingly failing, not being our best. It’s great to show compassion, forgiveness, understanding, love, and gentleness to ourselves and each other.
This lawyer is kind enough to reach out and empower the humiliated man and offer him friendship as opposed to smugly rubbing it in his face like she could have, like often does happen in cases where one person gets his/her ass handed to her/him by another.
Sooner or later, you ‘ll get your second wind.
I think we can all benefit by being like this brilliant and loving character.
She is a retired criminal defense attorney who mostly worked for more of a hobby than a career. She never cared for money and was very selective of the cases she took on, only taking on ones she truly felt compelled to work at.
Unlike many of the other defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and other law people, she truly cares for her clients and people in general. She warmly embraces those that the rest of society brands as “losers” & “lost causes.” She sees potential and humanity in seriously troubled people.
She retired because of burnout. She got too involved in her cases & the people.
In the book she is described as a beauty. A tall, slender, African American woman with long, lovely legs. Her reputation is that she is not one to be messed with, she’s confident, strong, knows her stuff.
She’s a tough broad but with a soft heart. Truly compassionate and caring about people in general. She’s financially well off, dresses expensively, has a large expensive house decorated impressively, drives an expensive car but she’s not arrogant. She has a bit of an alcoholic drinking problem that she’s not ready to abandon.
I am so inspired by so many parts of this book even though I’m so put off by other parts.
The author is not condoning the horrors in his book,, in fact he conveys the wrongness of it.
If you like legal thrillers/suspense/mysteries and don’t mind gore & graphic details of horrible violence then this may be for you.
If not, I wouldn’t read it.
I love novels about perseverance, happiness, Redemption, heartache, hope, and healing, learning to live again, love & life…and this book does display this.
I love the insights & the lessons throughout it.
But the violence & horror isn’t my cup of tea.
Xoxo Kim ❤