An intense story of bitterness

RUSTY Sabich is a happily married man. His world is turned upside down when he starts an extramarital affair with his young former clerk, Anna.

The affair complicates things for him since the elections to the Supreme State Court are just coming up.

This could cost him his career and his wife. In the opening chapter his wife, who suffers from a mental condition, ultimately dies in her sleep. Devastated by her death Sabich sits next to her body for 24 hours without informing anyone - not even his son Nat.

When an overdose of prescription medication is found in her system it is theorised that Sabich spent the 24 hours that are unaccounted for covering his tracks.

His behaviour draws the attention of the prosecutor's office, especially Tommy Molto, who starts building a case against Sabich.

Molto has a score to settle and Sabich is again standing trial for murder. Sabich is confident that he will be founds not guilty. But he is afraid that some aspects of his past might cloud the judgement of the jury.

After several exciting liaisons, Sabich dumps Anna. Ironically, the broken-hearted Anna later meets Nat, Sabich's son who is 28, quite by accident.

He is instantly smitten with her, but she is convinced the relationship would be unseemly. Nat grew up in a home with an emotionally unstable mom and a dad who has clammed up. The toll this has taken on him is painful but, overall, Nat's a good kid struggling to find his own way.

The author's courtroom scenes are mesmerising.

He makes the complex proceedings accessible and fascinating. He goes back and forth in time, changing points of view, and sometimes teasingly withholding key bits of information so that he can spring a few surprises in the final chapters.

Innocent is an intense story of how people nurse deep-seated bitterness for years, causing them a lot of damage. Good book.