Published: November 11, 2012
How much would a father sacrifice for his child?
Nineteen years ago, Indiana police found the body of a young girl, burned beyond recognition and buried in the woods. They arrested George Calhoun for murdering his daughter, and his wife testified against him at the trial. The jury convicted him. Now his appeals have been exhausted, and his execution is just a few weeks away. George said he didn’t do it. That the body isn’t his little Angelina. But that’s all he’s ever said – no other defense, no other explanation.
Dani Trumball, an attorney for the Help Innocent Prisoners Project, wants to believe him. After all, there was no forensic evidence that the body in the woods was George’s daughter. But if the girl isn’t Angelina, then who is it? And what happened to the Calhouns’ missing daughter? For nineteen years, George Calhoun has stayed silent. But that’s about to change, and the story he tells Dani—if it’s true—changes everything.
The series is called the Innocent Prisoners Project. That spells it out. The main character, Dani Trumbull, is an attorney who works for Help Innocent Prisoners Project (HIPP). Part of her responsibility has been to go through cases to decide which to accept. The cases, death penalty convictions, where her office may be their last hope.
Enter George Calhoun, scheduled for execution in six weeks for killing his own daughter. He has always claimed it was not his daughter, but would never tell what had happened to her. After being imprisoned for 19 years, he hopes HIPP will take his appeal. Convicted based on his wife’s confession that they had indeed killed their child, the investigation itself was lax, without even a blood test to confirm the body was the daughter.
Dani finally agrees to take on the case.
That begins a bizarre tale of appeal after appeal, leads that go no where, and difficulty finding the truth at every turn. With little time left, they can’t afford to lose an hour, yet each potential clue seems to take them in a direction they hadn’t expected, taking more time than they have.
Then the threats begin to Dani’s team. Why does someone want to stop them? Who would want to stop them? Is it to see George executed or to hide the truth that could prove his innocence?
There are a ton of unexpected twists included, plenty of tension as you begin to feel the clock ticking down. A few times the directions they went seemed unrealistic, with obvious things they should have done. That didn’t detract for the suspense. Knowing there are more steps to take, more people to find, more places to be, while George sits in a cell awaiting death in a very few days.
The author was a lawyer, though practicing corporate law. Since she grew up reading, finally leaning toward legal thrillers such as Scott Turow, she wanted her character to be a strong woman attorney in the genre.
I loved this book and look forward to reading more in this series.