With life as a pawn in a prestigious Boston law firm behind him, Scott Finn has set course through the more colorful back alleys and bedrooms of the legal world as a solo practitioner who dabbles in civil litigation, divorce law, and criminal defense. But his new environment and his nose for justice and fair play land him a case that could end up taking his life.
A policewoman is left for dead in an alley, but survives and points the finger at an El Salvadoran immigrant with ties to one of South America's most dangerous and notorious gangs. There's just one problem: the evidence suggests the wrong man's been fingered. Finn, along with the maverick detective and stubborn ally Tom Kozlowski, must now navigate through this explosive case to save an innocent man's life and to learn why decorated officers might be willing to risk their careers and even their lives by lying about the crime. But with time running out, it is Finn and Kozlowski whose lives hang in the balance as they search for the thin line between guilt and innocence.
In Hosp's strong third novel (after 2006's disappointing The Betrayed), Boston lawyer Scott Finn, the hero of Hosp's debut, Dark Harbor (2005), has resigned from his white-shoe law firm and gone into practice for himself, along with cop-turned-PI Tom Kozlowski and legal intern Lissa Krantz. Finn gets roped into the case of Vincente Salazar, an illegal El Salvador immigrant with gang ties who was convicted of shooting a policewoman. Salazar has spent 15 years in prison, but new DNA evidence might exonerate him. Finn bitches and moans about pro bono cases, but readers know that underneath his cynical shell lies an honest straight shooter who loves the law and will go to his grave defending it-which he nearly does as a host of bad guys set out to convince Finn it's unhealthy to reopen the Salazar case. Clever banter, interesting legalities and compelling characters put Hosp, an attorney who has worked on New England's Innocence Project, back in the running for a top spot in the Boston legal thriller stakes. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Grand Central Publishing
July 10, 2007
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Excerpt from Innocence by David Hosp
Monday, December 10, 2007
MARK DOBSON SAT on the hard wooden bench in the back of the small courtroom on the twelfth floor of the Suffolk County Courthouse. His bow tie was tight around his thin thirty-year-old neck, and his wool double-stitched Oxxford suit was buttoned against the cold of the outdated building. The courthouse was never comfortable in winter. The heat was either off, allowing icicles to form on the insides of the windows, or blasting, leaving those who'd dressed for December in Boston sweating. On balance, he'd take the cold, he decided.
Sitting several feet away from him in the gallery was an old, disheveled refugee from the streets. An oily newspaper from the day before was spread out next to him as he shifted his attention between the previous day's headlines and the proceedings at the front of the courtroom.
"Haven't seen you here before," the old man whispered to Dobson during a break.
"I don't get to court very often," Dobson replied. He was trying to be polite, but as the old man leaned in toward him, a foul odor attacked Dobson's nostrils, and he realized it was probably a mistake to encourage him.
The man jabbed a dirty thumb into his own chest. "I'm here every day," he said. "Got a bed at the Vets' Home over on State Street, but I come here every morning. Bailiffs know me and know I'm not lookin' for trouble, so they leave me alone. I served my country, so I figure I got the right to admire the fruits of my labor. Plus, it beats the streets; warm in here, at least usually."
"There are probably other courtrooms where the heat is on," Dobson suggested, trying at once to be helpful and to rid himself of the distraction.
"Sure there are," the man agreed. "But I check the docket every morning." He pointed to one of the lawyers at the front of the room. "His name's Finn. When he's due in court, I go where he goes. I been comin' here the better part of ten years now, and I bet I seen every lawyer that's stepped up to the bar in this city. He's one of the few I ever seen worth a fuck."
Dobson nodded. "He's the man I'm here to see." He stared at the homeless vet for another moment before turning his attention back to the front of the courtroom, where Scott Finn was questioning a witness.
"You were fifty-two when you married Mrs. Slocum, isn't that right, sir?" Finn asked the bald, thick-necked man on the witness stand. The tall, dark-haired lawyer was looking over his notes, pretending he didn't already know the answer. He was street-thin, and there was a quiet confidence in the way he questioned the witness. It was a preliminary hearing in a divorce case, and from what Dobson could tell, it had been a nasty split. Because the matter was set down for only a hearing on a pretrial motion, the jury box was empty.
"I was," the man testified.
Finn walked behind counsel's table and touched his client, an attractive woman who looked to be around thirty, on the shoulder. "And Mrs. Slocum was twenty-six?"
"That sounds about right."
"Half your age."
The witness's lawyer jumped to his feet. "Objection, Your Honor. Is that a question?"
Finn considered it. "More of a mathematical observation, Your Honor, but I'll take a response if the witness has one to offer."
Judge Harold Maycomber leaned back comfortably in his chair and smirked. He was a potbellied man with unfortunate hair that had inspired the popular courthouse nickname "Judge Comb-over." "Overruled, Mr. Dumonds. It's close enough to a question for the witness to respond."
Slocum, the witness, flushed as his eyes slashed out at Finn. "Yes, she was half my age," he answered at last.
Finn ignored the look and continued. "You were already wealthy when you married, were you not?"
A conceited grin poked through the older man's bulbous lips. "I suppose that depends on your perspective."