Reviewer Sandy Graham: Born and raised in Canada, Sandy spent 35 years with The Boeing Company in a variety of engineering and management positions. After retirement, he satisfied a long-standing urge to delve into creative writing. Sandy has authored three novels, Two Loves Lost, The Pizza Dough King and Murder – On Salt Spring?
Innocent Little Crimes piques curiosity at the outset and increases its grip as the pages flit by.
Lakin says the story was inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. To better assess the originality of this novel I felt compelled to dust off Agatha’s classic for a quick refresher. There are similarities. People guilty of crimes outside the reach of the judicial system brought together on an isolated island to encounter deserved retribution. But this story is much more than an old plot skeleton fleshed out in 21st Century life style.
Lakin’s innocent little crimes are only innocent if one allows the perpetrators to ignore their potential harm. In fact, they deliver a psychological blow to Lila Carmichael that she never recovers from in spite of her later fame and fortune. They are not little except in the eyes of the law, which fails to consider them crimes. Still, they are merely at the destructive end of the scale of innocent little crimes we all commit without recognizing how hurtful they can be to others. Sometimes nothing more than an ill-chosen word can cause life-long damage.
The prank that all but destroys Lila festers in her mind for fifteen years while the culprits live on ignorant of its impact and her determination to wreak revenge. Lakin does a masterful job of developing the characters, taking us into their heads to understand their thinking, motivation and actions. She sets a hook in the prologue by telling us one won’t survive and we spend the whole book trying to predict the victim.
Actually, everyone is a victim of psychological destruction in one form or another. The story shows vividly how revenge destroys its seeker as surely as it does the victims. Revenge is not a dish best served cold. It is best not served at all. One tends to wonder how all their lives, especially Lila’s, would have turned out if forgiveness could have been substituted.
The story also sent me searching through my aging memory for innocent little crimes I might have committed and wondering in retrospect what impact might have resulted. In short, like all good novels, the story provokes thought. It is well written with excellent dialog and character depth. But above all, it is a fast paced psychological thriller that will keep you engrossed to the very end.
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