Plea of Insanity is Jilliane Hoffman third book following her internationally acclaimed Retribution that achieved International Best Selling status. Plea of Insanity was released first in Australia and Germany in 2007, Japan and the Netherlands in 2008 and only 2009 in the author’s home country, the United States. This delay in time allowed for enough criticism to settle in and room for modification, especially with the main character Julia Vacanti (then Valeciano) and a reduction in the novel 608 to 424 pages. With these changes Plea of Insanity (ISBN 978-1-59315-507-0) US release in April this year for a cost of US$25.95, should definitely get your money.
In Plea of Insanity Julia Vacanti is a 28-year-old Miami Prosecutor who lands herself her first murder case to prosecute a successful surgeon who is accused of stabbing his wife, two older children and smothering their 6 weeks baby one night. This promises to advance Julia career in a highly media savvy. The defendant, David Marquette, puts the prosecution team in overdrive by entering a not guilty by reason of insanity plea and has them question if he is malingerer. With division among the State appointed psychiatrist the question is, is David Marquette plea one of malingerer or is it real? Is he being wrongful punish for something he could not control or is he a murder trying to evade the law? Into which category does he fall?
It’s something to keep you guessing until the end as the story takes an interest twist of games with Julia being reminded, because of this case, of her brother who brutally murdered their parents when she was 13 years-old. Now 15 years later memories creak upon Julia and threaten her permanence. She tracks her brother down, establishes contact and develops an obsession, which results in some major weave, indeed a journey into the mind of madness.
I’m suit my Hoffman style, particular in her first two novel Retribution and Last Witness which have continued in this the third of a dazzling combination of part John Grisham, James Patterson and Patrcia Cornwell. Hoffman also possesses the ability to make me feel I’m reading a blockbuster. Bonus, with four years prosecutorial experience she gives an equipped and intimate outplaying of the courtroom.
It’s the sort of book you need for the summer, which see Hoffman craft an interesting and wining plotline to keep you guessing what next. The neat twists in plot have me at pages cursing and filled with glee. I kept up reading it the first night, wanting to reach the end to know the verdict. Hoffman also makes careful use of empathy for us to side with Vacanti, especially as she outlines the past where her brother schizophrenic murdered their parents in extended italics writing.
However, I had some problems with some of the jargon nonetheless, especially after they were deliberately abbreviated with ‘ASA’ (Assistant State Attorney), PD (Public Defender) and DC (Division Chief), with PDs being divided into A, B and C grouping depending on the type of case they work. Noticeable for me was the problem of ‘MD’ (which could have meant Metro-Dade or Miami-Dade), hence some troubles when she spoke of the police officers from MDPD; but once mastered you’re good.
It’s a definitive MUST have!