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When Keely Bennett's world is shattered by the suicide of her beloved husband, Richard, she and her nine-year-old son Dylan have to start over. Her late husband's childhood friend, Mark Weaver, helps Keely settle Richard's affairs and sweeps her into a whirlwind romance -- and eventually a comfortable suburban lifestyle that includes marriage and a beautiful baby girl.
The darkness that clouded Keely's past has all but vanished. Yet Dylan, now a teenager, remains distant, brooding and resentful of his stepfather and baby sister, Abby. Then history repeats itself, and her life is once again thrown into chaos. But Keely's nightmare is just beginningŠfor the authorities are looking for a murderer, and they already have a prime suspect: Dylan.
Refusing to believe her son is a killer, Keely vows to clear his name. But the prosecutor has a personal stake in seeing Dylan convicted -- and her pleas for help from the police fall on deaf ears. To save her son, Keely must rely on herself. But she is far from alone; someone is watching her every move. When her investigation threatens to uncover a conspiracy of secrets and corruption, she is suddenly plunged into the path of danger -- and into the sights of a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to ensure the truth stays buried forever....
Seamlessly weaving a psychological portrait of the bond between a mother and son with the breathless intrigue of a murder mystery, Not Guilty is a novel that finds Patricia MacDonald at the height of her celebrated powers.
Combining hand-wringing angst with wild improbabilities, Edgar-nominee MacDonald (The Unforgiven, etc.) plunges her heroine, Keely Bennett, into a nightmarish ride through domestic bliss gone bad. First husband Richard, who suffers from horrible migraines that nothing seems to help, finally commits suicide. Their nine-year-old son, Dylan, finds his bloody body. To the rescue comes lawyer Mark Weaver, a childhood friend of Richard's, who not only steers Keely through the legal and financial problems caused by Richard's suicide but also woos, weds and sweeps Keely away to a new life in generic St. Vincent's Harbor. Five years pass, giving Keely and Mark a delightful baby girl and a surly and troubled teenage son/stepson. Then a tragic accident leaves Keely widowed once again, and a vengeful district attorney, Maureen Chase, to whom Mark was engaged before he left her for Keely, is determined to find Dylan guilty of more than teenage negligence in order to get even. Everything seems stacked against Keely and her alienated son. As their situation grows more and more desperate, Keely becomes more and more determined to protect and defend Dylan. The heroine fighting against frightening odds and against unseen enemies is fine, and MacDonald rings some nice changes on her set of bells. But she also relies too heavily on unconvincing coincidences that seriously, perhaps fatally, weaken the suspense. 5-city author tour.