Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Child Pornography Trial and a Family Tragedy

An Amherst professor, Sidney Cranmer, is caught in an FBI sting. Cranmer receives a DVD containing child pornography which he says he never ordered, but the FBI believes differently. Cranmer’s specialty is Lewis Carrol who some believe was a pedophile because of the pictures he took of young girls, naked or partially clothed. This specialty leads the FBI to believe that Cranmer also enjoys child pornography.

Judge David Norcross is assigned the case. He hasn’t rescued himself and now he’s caught in a dilemma. His girlfriend, Claire Lindermann, is a professor at Amherst and a friend of Cranmer. She believes he’s not guilty which puts a strain on her relationship with David. To make Norcross’ life more difficult, his brother is injured in a plane crash that kills his wife leaving David with two young nieces who he feels unprepared to care for. Having children is a contentious issue in his relationship with Claire.He doesn’t feel able to care for children, and she wants to be a mother.

This is an excellent legal thriller. The plot has a number or twists. It’s very difficult to figure out what’s happening until near the end of the book. Probably the best part is the realism of the courtroom scenes. The author, Michael Ponsor, spent thirty years as a US district judge. He uses this background to give an authentic tone to the novel.

The characters of David and Claire are realistic. People with careers trying to decide whether to make a family late in life have particular difficulty deciding whether their careers are compatible with being parents. I thought the author handled this difficult topic with great sensitivity. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy legal thrillers with well developed characters and authentic background.

I received this book from Net Galley for this review.