Author: Paul Batista
Published on: 1 March 2022
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Legal Thriller
Accusation is the third book in Paul Batista’s Raquel Rematti Legal Thriller series.
Renowned actor Aaron Julian is awakened at 2 in the morning by his agent Larry. He is informed that two women have accused Aaron of sexual harassment. The next morning, a lawyer who led the charge in priests’ sexual abuse case, is on TV with the two women in question. That same day, Aaron and Veda’s (his wife) car is ambushed by a group of unruly mob.
The couple hires a powerful defense lawyer Raquel Rematti. Aaron tells Raquel he’s innocent and hardly knows the women in question. That same evening, at Veda’s concert, a tall woman with a Great Dane throws a bag of dog poo at Aaron. Veda and Aaron decide it is time to hire security.
The plaintiff’s lawyer is found murdered in Central Park reservoir and the conspiracies against Aaron skyrocket. He might have had a hand in the lawyer’s murder, they say. Then comes another shocker: another woman testifies in front of the jury that she was sexually abused by Aaron.
NOTE: This review contains spoilers. Many unanswered questions and incomplete lines of investigation as the story ended so I will be discussing what didn’t work for me.
First things first, I am really not sure if this should be called a legal thriller. Yes, we have a badass, no-nonsense lawyer who charges $1200 per hour. She’s notoriously known for winning cases and protecting her clients – doesn’t matter if they are mafia, bad guys, good guys or anything else. But, my question is, shouldn’t a legal thriller have elaborate courtroom drama?
There’s hardly any courtroom scene here – maybe just one where Aaron is arrested and produced in front of a judge for sentencing. This happens in the second half of the book and this is the only scene that can be (closely) termed as courtroom drama. We also have another scene where a woman is made to testify in front of the jury – she gives detailed description of the abuse she went through. But neither Aaron nor Raquel are present during this scene.
I cannot not comment on the kind of relationship that Aaron and Veda had. They have been married for three years but their relationship was more of lust and obsession for each other. Ugh! Veda and Aaron call each other ‘baby’. God, does almost every sentence have to have the word baby in it? I believe you, baby. We will fight this, baby. Baby this, baby that! What they do behind closed doors is their personal business. But elaborate descriptions of how they sleep naked, walk naked and are comfortable being naked around each other (in their home, of course) – TMI!
The woman who threw dog poo at Aaron and the woman who testified in front of the jury that Aaron sexually abused her go missing. There is no line of enquiry on this. As a lawyer, shouldn’t Raquel at least try to investigate and learn of their whereabouts? She’s interested in clearing her client’s name. But when the ‘key witnesses’ go missing, she’s not bothered much.
Then comes Larry’s role in the story. He appears only in the first half of the story. When Aaron is accused of harassing women, Larry shows where his loyalty lies. That’s it – nowhere else in the story does Larry make an appearance.
There’s a dirty cop, biased judiciary system, dirty politics and manipulation of evidence. Then there’s Aaron who ‘disguises’ himself and goes in search of the dog walker. He talks to someone pretending to be a dog trainer; the guy answers Aaron’s questions and finally says, it was nice to meet you Mr. Julian. Seems like nobody fell for Aaron’s excellent acting skills. Also, Raquel knows of this incident and does not warn her client about it.
This story had a lot of potential but there were loopholes and unanswered questions at the end. Not much of legal stuff, just people trying to gain money, fame or whatever when they have a chance. The ending seemed hurried up. Overall, this was a disappointing read for me.
I received an ARC from Edelweiss+ and Oceanview Publishing in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.