The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne
An eight year old neighborhood boy is found dead in a playground. When witnesses come forth as to saying he was recently seen playing and rough housing with another neighborhood boy, 11-year-old Sebastian, Sebastian and his mother are called in for questioning.
The defense solicitor, Daniel Hunter is called in to hear Sebastian’s story and defend him if necessary. While Daniel’s own troubled childhood has led him to a life of working with young children, he has never worked with one as young as an eleven year old.
Sebastian has the look of an angel, a small delicate boy with shiny intelligent eyes. Yet when Sebastian speaks he does not talk like an eleven year old, his speak and ability to catch on are beyond his years. Daniel still has a strong sense that Sebastian is not guilty of this crime.
As the case opens wider, Daniel has to check himself to make sure his own past is not clouding his judgement. Leading him to walk that fine line between truth and lies.
Holy crackers batman. Get ready for a twisted ride. This book has a little something for everyone who likes a good mystery and/or adventure. Lacking in neither, The Guilty One will definitely make you think as you watch Sebastian’s life and family slowly peel back hidden layer after layer. Honestly… you really never know your neighbors do you?
But wait… while we start to see Sebastian’s life unfold, the reader also sees where Daniel is coming from and this guy has a lot of crazy past himself which makes him so right for this case…. but also so wrong. If anything, it’s really hard to get a firm grip on who Daniel is (in my opinion) and why I should want to sympathize with him.
I would say over all, the book is engaging and it did have me trying to figure it out (which I enjoy) and did hold me all the way through. If I had one complaint – and its a rather small one – I would say it gets a little bogged down in the details mid way through and I wanted things to move on… move faster.
People who enjoy a good mystery with a nice dash of CRAZY sauce that is not fast paced will enjoy this book. It was well written and impressive as a debut book.