Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: Docket No. 76 by Arita M. L. Bohannan

I received a copy of this book from the author, well her husband actually, who I was friends with in college, in exchange for an honest review.  This is her first published novel, I'm not sure if she's written much in the past or this was her first attempt.  While it isn't the type of book I really read these days, as you know my blog followers, I mostly read YA lately.  But it wasn't a bad read at all.  It was a quick read, it flowed pretty naturally.  For a first time book I was pretty impressed!  Something I do complain about a lot is when the conversation and writing in the story sounds like someone is trying to write a formal paper for an English class in school.  This one didn't start out like that at all!  There were a few times towards the end that I kind of noticed it, and I notice that because it makes it not roll smoothly in my head as I'm reading it.  Does that make sense?  But it didn't do that at all until the very end, and so I was really into it and enjoying it by then, enough that I could ignore it in order to find out how it was going to end.

The main character is an Assistant District Attorney in New Orleans named Sandra Morgan.  But the story actually starts with the aftermath of the crime.  A young girl named Dori has been found by a family friend with duct tape on her wrists and she is bleeding and passed out.  This family friend is named Lee Lawson.  He is a well respected man in the town, but the fact that he is found holding the little girl, he is immediately the first suspect.  At least to the lead detective on the case, Detective Curtis, he is the first suspect.  But he rules him out after speaking with him, and even after meeting with the parents and seeing how they react to him.  Soon someone else is caught, a man named Gurganus.  His DNA is on the duct tape, and there are even fingerprints found.  When Sandra goes to the first hearing, and sees Gurganus for the first time, it brings back immediately what happened to her as a child, in such a personal way, because Gurganus is the man that assaulted her.  Only he got away with it, because she was too scared to speak at the trial when she was supposed to be testifying.  But she was a little girl, so while anyone would understand, she blames herself, especially knowing now that he has probably continued doing this to other little girls, including Dori. So we get to go through the case with them, and see how the judge will rule.  And based on that ruling, how will the rest of Sandra's life, as well as Dori's life, be affected?

I could totally see this as an episode of some tv court drama.  It was a pretty quick case in a way, with the amount of what happened in the book, so it would definitely fit on an hour long show I would think.  I think the descriptive language used in the book was great, you knew exactly what people looked like, and you could tell the author really knows New Orleans by the way she described it.  I did have a few times that it made me smile as I was reading. The character Lee Lawson, well his last name is that of one of the author and her husband's friends, a guy that I also know.  And the way he was described in the story fit a lot of the same characteristics as the actual person.  So it was fun to see some of the personal things in the story as well.

If you're looking for a quick lawyer type of story, this will be a good read for you.  If you want to buy it, you can get it from Barnes and Noble HERE.  And this also again inspires me to get going on my novel and get it done!!