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Flawed by legal inaccuracies
on February 2, 2013
I found myself liking this book in spite of itself, mostly because of a good pace and some nice character development. However, the book is seriously flawed by unbelievable behavior on the part of the police officers.
Throughout the first third of the novel, the police consistently violate the constitutional rights of the main character, against whom they have no evidence. Based on the supposition that the husband is the guilty party ninety percent of the time when a wife is killed, the police department mounts a campaign to get the suspect to confess by ruining his life -- taking actions such as freezing his bank accounts and disabling his bus pass, all without warrants. During this part of the book, the "suspect" is never charged with anything related to the murder, yet the police manage to get him fired from his job and destitute. Still, he never even consults a lawyer. I found it maddening that the author was so careless about basic rights known to virtually all Americans and about normal human behavior when confronted with circumstances that involve the criminal justice system.
It became impossible for me to warm to the police characters as a result. While I'm sure that there are some homicide investigators who just want to charge someone -- anyone -- and move on, I don't believe most in this country are as clueless and gullible as these characters, nor do I believe that in most jursidictions the police can actually take such actions without warrants. That's too bad, because otherwise the book had some positive aspects.