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Publisher's Summary

A preacher is found brutally murdered in a Tennessee motel room. A beautiful, mysterious young girl is accused. In this Mystery Readers International finalist for "Best Debut Mystery" criminal defense lawyer Joe Dillard has become jaded over the years as he's tried to balance his career against his conscience.

Savvy but cynical, Dillard wants to quit doing criminal defense, but he can't resist the chance to represent someone who might actually be innocent. His drug-addicted sister has just been released from prison and his mother is succumbing to Alzheimer's, but Dillard's commitment to the case never wavers despite the personal troubles and professional demands that threaten to destroy him. Smart and sophisticated, with a plot twist that will leave you shaking your head in wonder, An Innocent Client - the first in the acclaimed Joe Dillard series - will also leave you wanting more.

©2012 Scott Pratt (P)2013 Scott Pratt

Critic Reviews

"Pratt's richly developed characters are vivid and believable, especially the strong Southern women who fight their male-dominated culture from behind a facade of vulnerability in this brilliantly executed debut." ( Publisher's Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 12-03-15

Great Legal Thriller!

An Innocent Client is Book 1 in Scott Pratt's Joe Dillard legal thriller series. It is superbly written and narrated. Joe Dillard is an ex-Army Ranger lawyer who never wanted to be a defense attorney but went into the business because working for the local prosecutor pays so little. With his wife Caroline and he having two children before he finished law school he has been stuck in his private practice for years and now that their son is in college with a scholarship and their daughter a high school senior with a promised scholarship, he and Caroline are working toward getting enough money to afford to work as a prosecutor. Caroline is his paralegal.

Joe has a history of capital murder cases and is the best criminal defense attorney in the northeastern Tennessee where he practices. Most of his capital cases are with indigent clients assigned him by judges and the state pays him $100 per day which is not allowing him to save the money his family needs. Everything changes when he is offered $250,000 plus expenses to defend a beautiful young female client arrested on a murder charge. An Innocent Client is about that case. The state's case is very week and the client claims innocence. The offer is too good to turn down. This novel is about that case. The characters are well developed and very vivid.

The Innocent Client is not just a good first book for a new author, it is a great suspense/thriller novel. I recommend it.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 10-13-16

Brilliant Debut

This book is book one in the Joe Dillard Series. Joe is a cynical burned out defense attorney who keeps saying he will quit law in a year. All he wants is one innocent client.

The story takes place in rural Tennessee. A preacher is murdered after a visit to a strip club. The club owner hires Dillard to defend the club waitress, Angel Christian, who has been charged with the murder. Dillard’s personal life is in chaos, but he carries on with the defense.

The book is well written. I understand this is Pratt’s first book. For a debut book this is an excellent and well-crafted story. The portrayal of a cynical burned out defense attorney is realistic. The characters are well developed and are believable. Pratt has created a male-dominated southern culture for the story. The plot has some twists and turns and there is enough action as well as suspenseful courtroom drama to keep the reader’s attention. I did note that Pratt has created several strong women that are key to the story.

Tim Campbell does an excellent job narrating the story. Campbell is an opera singer, actor, voice over artist and audiobook narrator.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 06-24-14

Very Cool. Just GreatLegal Thriller.

Looking for the kind of legal thriller that Scott Turow used to write? Here's a guy NOT PREACHING his ideological message. Here's a nifty noir voice. I just listened to Dashiell Hammett's Maltese Falcon where the hard-boiled detective got invented. Scott Pratt's in that league. Like Hammett he's writing straight entertainment while playing the various techniques of fiction like a jazz pianist pulls in the riffs and chords you expect from hands that can find the dark a well as light keys.

Tim Campbell's created this ensemble cast with same sort of note-perfect sense as Pratt. Did I like it? I just downloads the next Joe Dillard book. Wadda-you think?

30 of 34 people found this review helpful

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Pretty good "Who did it"

I LOVED this narrator. He was so easy to listen to and even the female narrations were not awkward, as they can sometimes be. This storyline was easy to follow and had all elements, that made it the perfect amount of suspense and drama. I was never bored listening and never felt like I missed any of the plot, throughout the entire book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • SueW
  • High Point
  • 06-15-16

great plot

Loved the book but the narrator left a lot to be desired. Play a sample.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Greg
  • Corinth, TX, United States
  • 05-30-16

Lawyer with personal demons to fight

great story, good development of characters, and a great ending. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars? I think the reader could have given a little more variation in tonality to the main character. Don't get me wrong. I think he did a great job, and did variations with the women, judges, and rednecks superbly. It is just it could have been tweaked a little bit in the voicing of the main character, which was otherwise excellent.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Good story, looking forward to the series.

What did you love best about An Innocent Client?

It is a great opener to a 7 book series. Joe Dillard is a great character all around. His desperation just to have 1 innocent client, no pun intended.

What other book might you compare An Innocent Client to and why?

N/A

Would you listen to another book narrated by Tim Campbell?

I will finish the series. All his male voices sound similar. It becomes difficult to tell whom is speaking at certain points. Although Tim Campbell's voice is exactly what I would picture Joe Dillard's voice sounding like.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I felt for Angel, especially at the end. But the ending with Erlene made me laugh so hard.

Any additional comments?

The reason the story has 5 stars and the overall is 3 is as followed. My biggest overall issue, and it is the same with the ENTIRE SERIES. I purchased the MATCHING Kindle book, but they do not match. Almost every page has an altered word, and entire paragraphs have been added/removed from the audible compared to the MATCHING Kindle book. I enjoy reading along but it is difficult with this series. Truthfully it is unacceptable to advertise a matching book then it be this different, again pretty much every page has at least one altered word. At first I thought it was toning down some of the vulgarity on Audible, until halfway through a rant that was not in the book was spoken. But still overall a great book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Five stars

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book and have recommended this book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Well, Joe Dillard, of course!

Which character – as performed by Tim Campbell – was your favorite?

Again, Joe Dillard

Any additional comments?

I have read all of Scott Pratt's books in the Joe Dillard series and another of his books, Justice Redeemed. I found them entertaining and interesting. I really don't like the fact that I see only one person's rating when I'm browsing for a book -- perhaps it's the last posted rating. This book received one star by the last person, I guess, who rated it. That is very misleading. Unless you open it up and read the reviews, ONE review with one star ... well, that's just not indicative of the book's entertainment value. Sometimes when reading a bad review by certain readers, I know if they don't like it, I probably will. But that's because I have so many books and read so many reviews, I guess. Anyway, in my humble opinion, a one-star rating does not do this book justice.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Joe Dillard Wants To Clear His Conscience....

Joe Dillard wants to quit criminal defense because his conscience is getting him down. He is "getting criminals off" who he knows is guilty. When an opportunity comes where he can "represent someone who might actually be innocent," he jumps at the chance because this client just might be innocent. I enjoyed this story. A good "whodunit" with a good level of mystery and suspense. It held my attention throughout.

Tim Campbell narrated very well. His voice takes a little bit of time getting used to, but overall his voice suits the image of Joe Dillard. He has a range of tones that helps the listener know whose speaking and the story moves along well without needing to rewind.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • tallevast, FL, United States
  • 11-16-16

If this book was good - The narration killed it

The narrator read like a robot. I must have liked it a little bit because I finished it regardless. Or maybe I was too busy to look for another book while I was working.



4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Ellen
  • 08-06-16

Not up to standard

I am always on the lookout for crime series to get stuck into. I enjoy Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch from Michael Connelly, Jack Reacher, and numerous British series including Peter Robinsons Alan Banks. Joe Dillard didn't cut it for me. He is boring and much more sexist compared to other male protagonists. The opening statements in the murder trial is where I gave up. The narrator sounded like he was reading the telephone book as fast as he could, no inflexion what so ever. The text provided to him by the author may have been the problem. "I will show you that the defendant did this, a witness saw that, blood was found here etc etc". The prosecutor and defence counsel both laid out their whole case then and there. I could go on and on. Clearly I am not a fan!