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20 January 2016

Mark Gimenez: The Absence of Guilt (A. Scott Fenney Book 3)

Very contemporary terrorist/legal thriller
The FBI uncovers an ISIS plot to detonate a bomb that would kill thousands of spectators in the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas during the Super Bowl.  They arrest the apparent terrorists and the President goes on television and proclaims that the terrorists have been beaten.

Newly appointed US District Judge A. Scott Fenney is faced with a commitment hearing for the accused terrorists. Things are not straightforward as the FBI doesn't have any viable evidence of the plot, especially against a radical Muslim cleric Omar al Mustafa reputed to be their leader. Judge Fenney is asked to detain Mustafa and the followers arrested with him until after the Super Bowl which is three weeks away. If there is insufficient evidence Scott must set someone free who is probably the most dangerous man in Dallas.

Many of you who have read the previous books in the series will remember Scott as a young, ambitious and rich lawyer with a trophy wife who successfully defends a black drug addict prostitute on a murder charge. He loses his career, his wife and his riches and when the prostitute overdoses he adopts the prostitute's daughter Pajamae and brings her to live with his daughter Boo. Pajamae and Boo become close friends. They are similar in age, go to the same school and both dearly love A. Scott Fenney. The terrorist affair will affect both of them for the rest of their lives.

Scott is also scheduled to judge on the legal validity of Presidential executive orders that affect millions of illegal Mexican immigrants. This judgement is brought much closer to home when Scott becomes emotionally involved with a beautiful FBI agent with Mexican parents who is charged with protecting him during the terrorist case.

This is an action-packed legal thriller which will keep you on the edge of your seat to the very last moment. Mark Gimenez has taken on two very difficult and controversial topics - human rights in the struggle against terrorism and the legal status of millions of Mexican immigrants in the US. In doing so he highlights the different perception of the issues from a public and legal perspective.

Once again Gimenez has written an intelligent, sensitive and cleverly plotted action-packed legal thriller with plenty of twists and turns. A. Scott Fenney is one of Mark Gimenez' best characters - a man with a conscience which is not destined to bring him the greatest happiness.

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