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Benefit of the Doubt


By Neal Griffin
ISBN: 9780765338501
Publisher: Macmillan-Tor/Forge
Publication Date: 5/12/2015
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 Stars DEBUT
Neal Griffin is a twenty-five year veteran of law enforcement. He's seen it all, from routine patrols to drug enforcement to homicide investigations, from corrupt cops to men and women who went far above and beyond the call of duty.
Benefit of the Doubt is a gripping thriller that exposes the dark underbelly of policing in small-town America, where local police departments now deal with big-city crimes and corruption.
Ben Sawyer was a big-city cop, until he nearly killed a helpless suspect in public. Now a detective in the tiny Wisconsin town where he and his wife grew up, Ben suspects that higher-ups are taking payoffs from local drug lords.
Before long, Ben is off the force. His wife is accused of murder. His only ally is another outcast, a Latina rookie cop. Worse, a killer has escaped from jail with vengeance on his mind, and Newburg—and Ben Sawyer—in his sights.

About the Author

Growing up in west-central Wisconsin on a steady diet of Joseph Wambaugh novels and episodes of Police Story, Neal never considered any career other than being a cop. In fact, his whole purpose in joining the Marines at nineteen was to improve his chances of landing a job in police work. After an eight year hitch in the Marines, Neal applied for a number of agencies and landed in Southern California where he is still on the job.

Neal is married and has four children. He and his family reside in San Diego County. They travel frequently throughout the country but feel especially welcome in Wisconsin, where Neal loves to write, as well as pursue his other great passions: beer, cheese and Packer football. Website Twitter

My Review

A special thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Neal Griffin, delivers an edgy and cleverly-plotted page-turner debut - BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT, a suspenseful crime thriller of revenge, corruption, and murder. Harlan Lee has one thing in mind. Revenge. He has seventeen years of rage and intensity, a reminder of all the things he missed by being caged. He is out of prison and has no plans to live the straight and narrow. A settlement of more than one old score. William Petite, the DA who put him away. Then to Newberg, Wisconsin to include a former sheriff, Lipinski and Norgaard, Newberg’s retired police chief, now institutionalized. Ben Sawyer, a fired Oakland officer, now with the Newberg police. Ben was honest enough to accept the blame, with an encounter with a fugitive in Oakland, Calif. He had been a thirteen year veteran of Oakland PD. A sergeant in charge of the prestigious Gang Suppression Unit. He was a rising star; however, shitcanned back to Newberg, his childhood home. A place that on the law enforcement career ladder came in about six rungs below mall cop. Ben happens to be Norgaard’s son-in-law, married to Alex with twelve year old son, Jake. They both grew up in Newberg, and the place she met her husband, holding much significance. Alex has had a life of cops; an absentee husband and cop, Ben, and the other-her dad, now having suffered a severe stroke, possible brain damage and total loss of speech, residing at the Newberg Convalescent Center. Even though, Alex feels a sense of peace in this isolated prairie town forty-five minutes west of Milwaukee--this soon changes. Ben has many enemies in Newberg. He is now an outsider, mistrusted by his fellow officers. A nonplayer. The Chief’s boy. He had been thrown to the wolves by his own department, and tossed aside after almost fifteen years of dedicated service. Now he and his family are forced to return, working for his father-in-law and small town America. Soon the small-town peace turns into corruption, evil, drugs, payoffs, cover-ups, violence, vengeance, conspiracy, and murder with increased tension in Ben’s personal and work life. To further complicate his life, Harlan is closing in on him, next. Alex is accused of murder. He has to find someone to help him. He needs an ally. Who is to blame? Can Ben go from disgraced to hero before someone takes him down? Griffin sets the stage slowly, for a taunt fast-paced, action filled compelling crime thriller of revenge and dark family secrets, leaving readers glued to the pages to solve the mystery, while rooting for their favorite characters. This cleverly –plotted multi-layered riveting cop procedural comes from an author who has the inside scoop with a career in law enforcement, and talents of an author, to follow for years to come. Looking forward to the next! From revenge, betrayal and redemption, Griffin hits the ground running, as reflective throughout the pages of this smashing debut. Fans of Karin Slaughter, Andrew Gross, and Harlan Coben are assured to enjoy this adrenaline ride.

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