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White is a devoted single mother to her eight-year-old son, Ben,
and is thrilled with her new job as an assistant district attorney
in Philadelphia. In her past, though, she was Kit, a foster child
with a difficult life. As a 15-year-old she ran with a group of
individuals that included the frightening Mario Castellanos. One
night they stopped at a convenience store, and from the restroom
Kit heard gunfire. Aghast, she discovered that Mario was armed with
a gun and had shot and killed a man. Although Kit and her friends
got away, this horrendous secret plagued her as she grew up.

Kate is not thinking about the dark secrets of her past as she
rushes to the courtroom to prosecute an armed robbery case. Her
uncomfortable new shoes hurt her feet and slip on the rain-wet
floor as she dashes, worrying that she will be late and begin the
proceedings with the intimidating judge already angry with her. She
manages to take her seat an instant before the deputy announces the
judge's entrance. Whew! Can Kate's day get any worse? (You'd better
believe it most definitely can!)

The public defender announces that he has a new witness, even
though it’s too late for him to be introducing one. As Kate
argues with the judge, her own cell phone disrupts them, triggering
the judge's wrath. But all her previous problems fade into
nothingness when gunfire disrupts the courtroom, and men carrying
weapons run in. The scene is a horror of violence as the intruders
shoot, wounding and killing bystanders.

Kate cowers beneath a table, shaking in fear, until she is taken as
a hostage by a prisoner in an orange jumpsuit. As she is led away,
a cop tries to bargain for her release, but her captor refuses. He
demands a helicopter and shoves Kate through a door into a secure
area where she tries to persuade him to let her leave. All he can
do is scoff at her. Another prisoner in possession of a pistol
joins them. Kate is horrified when she discovers that this second
inmate is someone she knew in her past and that he is intent on
blackmailing her.

Kate enters a terrifying waking nightmare and is not safe anywhere.
Worse, not only is her life threatened, but so is her son Ben's. An
unexpected hero emerges, and Kate is chagrined to find herself
falling in love even as her existence disintegrates.

The stakes in GUILTY are high and the pace is rapid, with a
twisting plot line that keeps the reader turning pages far into the
night. The novel’s characters are fully fleshed out and
flawed just enough to feel human. Kate is a strong woman in an
impossible situation and is easy to empathize with. A smoldering
romance adds a bittersweet note to this intriguing and well-plotted
thriller from New York Times bestselling author Karen

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon ( on January 22, 2011

by Karen Robards

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0399154612
  • ISBN-13: 9780399154614