THE CONVICTION - Robert Dugoni
ISBN: 978-1-4516-0672-0 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-4516-0674-4 (e-Book Edition)
June 2012

California - The Present

With the death of his wife, lawyer David Sloane had returned his stepson to his biological father's care. David loves his son, Jake, but his mourning made him delve into his work temporarily forgetting all else. Now he discovers Jake has been into alcohol and trouble with the law. The court lets Jake have one more chance in his stepfather's care, but Jake isn't cooperating. A friend of David's, Tom Molia, suggests he and his son, TJ, fly out to the West coast and join David and Jake on a camping trip. Maybe this will help David reestablish a link with Jake.

Shortly after the trip starts, true to his latest bad behavior, Jake lands in trouble. He breaks into a roadside store to retrieve the fake ID the owner confiscated when Jake tried to buy a six pack of beer. Unfortunately, Jake is caught. The worst part is he took the younger boy, TJ, with him. The next day the boys go before Judge Boykin's juvenile court in the Winchester Courthouse before their fathers can arrive. Boykin sentences both boys to the Fresh Start Youth Training Facility; TJ for six months, Jake for a year.

As a lawyer who never loses, David soon finds all types of trouble with the court of Judge Boykin, but his hands are tied, legally speaking. Boykin has unforeseen powers in and out of the court. Luckily, Tom is a detective, and together the two men aren't about to leave their sons in what they come to learn is no camp at all, but a free labor force for some questionable friends of the judge.

THE CONVICTION is a gripping tale, and once a reader sees the disgusting trouble the boys have landed in, a terrifying suspense builds. David and Tom are good fathers and experts in their respective fields, so very likeable. TJ is an impressionable pre-teen. Jake comes off initially as an unlikable, troubled kid, but over the course of the story grows remarkably in the face of adversity. The situation is one to terrify every parent, so the story well defines its category while remaining completely believable; no supermen here. The evil perpetrated will spark the ire of all who believe in justice. As a litigator himself, the author takes readers on an exciting exploration of law at work, persistence against injustice, and what love can do.

Robin Lee