Title: A Good Mother
Author: Lara Bazelon
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Page Count: 368
My rating: 3 stars
About the book:
A gripping debut thriller about two young mothers, one shocking murder and a court case that puts them both on trial.
When a soldier is found stabbed through the heart at a US Army base, there is no doubt that his wife, Luz, is to blame. But was it an act of self-defense? An attempt to save her infant daughter? Or the cold-blooded murder of an innocent man?
Ambitious public defender Abby is determined to win at all costs. As a new mother herself, she wants to keep Luz out of prison and with her daughter. But when the surprises stack up and shocking new evidence emerges, Abby realizes the task proves far more difficult than she suspected and will require a terrible sacrifice.
As the trial hurtles toward an outcome no one expects, Abby, Luz and a captivated jury are forced to answer the question that will decide everything—what does it mean to be a good mother?
A Good Mother by Lara Bazelon is a legal thriller and normally I’m a huge fan when I pick those up so I was excited to get to this one. In this story a young mother is arrested for killing her military husband and her legal team goes to work on proving that their client was only acting in self defense when she was in fear for not only herself but for her young baby.
The idea of the title “A good mother” comes into play when the female defendant, Luz, is on trial for her bigger and stronger husband coming home drunk and her protecting her baby. Then the female public defender, Abby, is also pregnant and goes into labor right as the case is coming to court and instead of staying home with her baby she wants to save Luz from being seperated from hers.
I will admit as a fan of courtroom drama and legal thrillers as this one began I was completely engrossed in the story. However, the glamour of the genre didn’t hold for me as events unfolded in the book that really became way too over the top to be believable. Without including spoilers I will just say I can handle one or maybe two instances where I need to suspend disbelief but when I continue onward thinking there’s just no way this would ever play out in real life I begin to feel the book drag on instead of flying quickly by wanting to know the outcome. I landed on three stars since it did have potential if the characters actions hadn’t gotten over the top making it a bit blah to me.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Lara Bazelon is a writer, an attorney, and the director of the Criminal Juvenile Justice and Racial Justice Clinical Programs at the University of San Francisco School of Law. She is the former director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent and worked as a public defender in Los Angeles for seven years. Bazelon’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Houston Chronicle, Politico, and Slate, where she is a contributing editor and has a long-running series about wrongful conviction cases.