The Guilty is the story of Robert Bratt, once a high-flying defense attorney, but now haunted by doubts over his chosen profession and the violent people he represents. He is hired to defend Marlon Small, a young tough who is accused of a brutal double-slaying. The accused’s mother is a devoutly religious woman who is certain that her son has been falsely accused, and looks to Bratt to save him. Despite the mother’s protestations, Bratt’s instincts tell him that Small’s airtight alibi is too good to be true, and he is very probably guilty. But Bratt’s drive to succeed, combined with his sympathy for the heartbroken mother, push him to defend the young man.
Can he continue to turn a blind eye to what his client has done, and manipulate the truth as he so often has in the past, while no longer being able to look himself in the mirror?
Loosely based on a multiple-murder that shocked Montreal in the 1990s, this riveting story pulls the reader into the inner workings of a murder trial, and reveals what one lawyer must do when he has to defend “The Guilty.”
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I practiced criminal law for nearly a quarter of a century in Montreal. During that time I saw many honest, ethical lawyers who worked hard to guarantee that anyone accused of a crime got a fair trial. These were honorable men and women who took their obligation to defend their clients to the best of their abilities very seriously. But, occasionally, I would meet a lawyer who would gladly cross the ethical line, as long as he, and his client, came out winners. And, sometimes, in the heat of battle, and under the pressures that a major trial can create, even usually honest lawyers have made decisions that they later came to regret. In writing this book I pictured the main character, Robert Bratt, as someone who is essentially a good person, but whose need to win has led him to forget his inherent honesty, and driven him to do things that he wished he hadn’t. I felt that this kind of character would be more interesting to readers than the usual heroic, selfless lawyers that abound in books.
I based the facts of the crime and trial on a case I defended earlier in my legal practice. I can honestly say I have little in common with the lead character, be that his strengths or his weaknesses.