Detective Carly Edwards hates working in juvenile—where the brass put her after an officer-involved shooting—and longs to be back on patrol. So when a troubled youth, Londy Atkins, is arrested for the murder of the mayor and Carly is summoned to the crime scene, she's eager for some action. Carly presses Londy for a confession but he swears his innocence, and despite her better judgment, Carly is inclined to believe him. Yet homicide is convinced of his guilt and is determined to convict him.
Carly's ex-husband and fellow police officer, Nick, appears to be on her side. He's determined to show Carly that he's a changed man and win her back, but she isn't convinced he won't betray her again.
As the investigation progresses, Carly suspects a cover-up and strikes out on her own, uncertain whom she can trust. But when danger mounts, she begins to wonder if she made the right choice.
Accused by Janice Cantore is the first book in her new Pacific Coast Justice series. The book was an excellent and well developed novel that kept me captivated until the wee hours of the night. The plotline was well written and filled with mystery, suspense, and a battle between good and evil. There were several unexpected twists and the author left me guessing for much of the book about who was corrupt and who was pursuing justice. The tone of the book varied and matched the attitudes displayed by the characters and the twists in the plot. The language and description enhanced the storyline and contributed to the gritty unknown that occurred regularly in the plot.
The characters of Accused were also excellently developed. I was simultaneously saddened by Carly's bitterness and put off by her anger toward those closest to her because of the hardships she had experienced. Carly started out angry and unresponsive to God and unwilling to talk about God at all. However, I really enjoyed watching her learn more about faith in God, about herself, and about her ex-husband as the story continued. Towards the end I was able to identify with Carly and her struggles as I understood why she felt the way she did. Nick was a great character whom I really enjoyed. He had already undergone many changes from the man Carly first married by the time I was introduced to him, and these changes continued to be revealed throughout the novel. His care for Carly and his desire to introduce her to God were admirable, and I really enjoyed seeing his continued growth. Several of the less major but still important characters were also given great depth even in their supporting roles.
The themes of this book were crystal clear and well woven into Accused. These themes included seeking after God, living out His love toward others, having wisdom in seeing those that are choosing good over evil, and forgiving those who have wronged you. I loved the clarity by which Janice Cantore demonstrated both the Gospel and the importance of living a life of love to all men. Even though this was a novel, I was very challenged to have a clearer witness to God's love and truth.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. Accused was a brilliant suspense thriller with an excellently written plot, well developed and deep characters, and clear and convicting themes. I cannot wait to read the next novel in this series, Abducted.