Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Conviction Author: Robert Dugoni Abandonment...
Fran Lewis5:40pm Jun 20
Author: Robert Dugoni

Abandonment takes many different forms and can be defined in many ways. Although some think they are there when others need them in reality they are not. Young people perceive the world in their own way and adults do not often grasp their problems, see through their pain or understand their defeats and what causes them. Some act out by using drugs where others become defiant and use alcohol as a way of escaping reality. But, when a young boy sees his mother gun down right in front of him and is totally helpless facing the killer the end result is more than just tragic. Jake Carter watched his mother’s death unfold right in front of his eyes with his stepfather standing by unable to prevent what took just a second but would forever change more than both of their lives. Learning to deal with her death and being sent back to live with his errant father who was never really there for him from the start, Jake learned to live the fast life, create his own brand of recognition and wound up with a rap sheet that just might get him incarcerated. Using David Sloane, his stepfather as what he thought would be his out, he claimed and bellowed to authorities that he would make things right and they had no chance against him. Facing the judge in court would change things for Jake as she laid down the terms of his last chance before being incarcerated but will he heed her warnings? From the author of Murder One, Robert Dugoni comes a novel so powerful that all parents need to take notice before their son or daughter is the one who stands convicted. The Conviction is a powerful legal thriller filled with every parent’s nightmare coming to the foreground and in this case David’s decision to try to right some wrongs, deal with the guilt of abandoning Jake on his own and finding a way to bring him back.

Jake started his visit with David on the wrong foot. Lashing out at him and feeling angry is not uncommon. Following his own rules to the beat of his own drum definitely his way of coping with life and creating a world that makes him feel safe. As David meets with his old friend Father Allen he sets him straight, explains where he needs to go and hopefully helps him understand why Jake’s behavior is not uncommon, although unacceptable, needs monitoring and guidance of a full time parent.

A close friend in the police department calls David and asks for his help with a legal matter. Detective Tom Molia enjoys camping and invites David to join him with Jake thinking it might help both of them and get Jake away from the place where his mother was killed. But, not everything always turns out the way you want and sometimes the blending of two teens might turn into more than just a nightmare for both parents.

Things spiral out of control when Jake takes TJ on a downward path starting with using a fake ID and then attacking the storeowner for keeping it. Trying to divert the man’s attention away from what he was trying to buy and threatening him with a law suit Jake and TJ learn what happens when three strikes and you in. TJ gets drunk along with Jake and not willingly, but winds up learning lessons he never bargained for.

Laws are made to protect the innocent except in Truluck where they are made for those who run the town. Jake and Tj were arrested and taken to jail without any representation what so ever. When Tom and David were alerted to what happened they encountered law enforcement and rules that would harden not just the two boys but them too. Arrested and ramrod them into to confess by the judge they were sentence to juvenile detention. Worse then bad enough is the name Fresh Start Detention which is a cover up for abuse, emotional pain and cruelty inflicted by the adults that are in charge and the inmates that help carry out their torture. Jake and TJ enter the camp and Jake feels the pain before he even begins. The inmates fearing their own retribution from those in charge go along with what you might call the initiation of the newbie and never look back. As David and Tom try to locate their sons, find a way to get them released they learn many hard lessons about other states, the laws that they create just for them and the abuse inflicted on anyone visiting. Two teens that did the wrong thing, needed to learn a lesson but not the way they would where they were sent. As the tortures are more prevalent the parents learn more about the facility they enlist the help of someone to file the right motions and hopefully save their sons. Articles on the net verify their fears that their son’s lives are definitely in danger.

There are many ways to teach teens hard lessons but the staff at this juvenile camp goes over the top and beyond what is right for these young people. The punishments are inhumane, the fear they instill in them too frightening and the end result often can be death. Feeling immune to the powers of the outside world and their actions condoned by the judge that runs the town, many young people are sent to this camp without any regard for their safety, welfare or parental knowledge. But, the abuses do not stop at the kids it rises to the adults too as both David and Tom learn when they meet Office Wade and some of the other local officials.

Author Robert Dugoni brings to light what happens when one town takes it too far, creates and has their own form of laws and government and feels they are immune to the legalities set by others. Just how far will they go and how long will it take Tom and David before Jake and TJ lose more than just their freedom? The Conviction takes you to small town America and it is really frightening.

A town gripped in fear and a judge without morals or conscience. One young man named Jake who would prove his worth and metal but not before his body withstands what the guards and inmates deem fair in their minds. As one woman steps forward and wants to help learn the truth and free her own son, David and Tom risk it all to save theirs and others too. Facing Judge Earl David proves he is a force and not going away. Victor Dillon owns Fresh Start and he profits from it by charging families for their child’s incarceration. Fear that their sentences will be extended, inhumane treatment, and guards who hold back food, bathroom privileges and treat kids as cattle for their own sick purposes author Robert Dugoni brings to light what happens when a town lives without any conscience, laws are made to suit one man and tyranny reigns and greed wins and fear wins out.

Motions files, paperwork given in and other forms lost, as the judge does not want David to read the transcript from the bogus trial. But, when push comes to real shove wait and see what the end result is and what happens when two fathers take on a whole town and many young men fall prey to more than just the indignities and violence of adults. The title might refer to the guilty verdict but word Conviction definitely means both David and Tom as their conviction or goal to stop what has been going on too long takes them to Winchester County and the courtroom of Judge Earl.

As the pieces start to fit together the end result and the final verdict you won’t believe. Many people come into play and some risk it all to save the lives of so many wrongly accused. Jake, TJ, Bee Dee and so many others live through tortures, unjust treatment and more all because someone needed to keep Fresh Start Open for his own monetary purposes and the drug business that went along with the funding. When David comes up with a plan that just make shake the foundation of the Winchester Court will Jake step up to the plate and finally help him out? What is the truth behind one officer’s actions and what will be the final fate of those who committed so many crimes? An ending more powerful than that of any other legal thriller, an author who delivers justice in his own unique way and one lawyer and one detective who fought hard and hoped to over turn The Conviction. Did they and what happens you will learn when the documents that were missing and the disc of the trial played when you read the book and hear the evidence for yourself? Did Jake learn his lesson? That remains to be seen. Let’s hope the author brings them all back and maybe this time Jake just might help solve the case. Friendships tested, loyalties formed and many youths lives held in the balance and characters that are strong, bold and well developed. One town so corrupt it was hard to tell where the betrayers started and the honest reined. Read the Conviction and decide what your final verdict is.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

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