Mike Garrett
Crosslink Publishing (2019)
ISBN 9781633571464
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (2/19)

“Innocence Denied” by Mike Garrett is inspiring in tone with well described, relatable characters. Readers find Derrick Walton contemplating several changes in his life due to circumstances beyond his control. His marriage to wife Sherry was a sham after she disclosed an affair which Derrick didn’t see coming. After her funeral Derrick is consumed with addressing his life-altering health issues and his purpose in life. Much to her dismay, his sister Karen, who is demanding and often controlling, can’t believe he is leaving for Arizona to sort out his life. Many readers can relate to life changes that require time away from family, friends and work to sort out feelings and choices.

Little did Karen know that Derrick cut off all contact with his other life except her. He hates lying to his sister however, it must be done. While in Cottonwood, Arizona Derrick discovers a news story about a friend’s daughter who is charged in the murder of her self-centered, rich husband.

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36-year-old socialite Larissa Baxter can’t believe she is accused of killing her husband and his family will accept nothing else but the death penalty. Surviving solely on her looks Larissa has not been happy in her marriage as the trophy wife of Kenneth Baxter, nor as the person, his family hated from day one. Derrick believes that his mission is to rescue his friend’s daughter from false accusations and hopefully turn both their lives around.

What most impresses me about this read is the author has an unbelievable knack for letting readers feel and understand Derrick. Interwoven throughout the book are thoughts and verses from the Bible, yet they are not forced on you. I believe that any individual going through crisis will easily identify with asking God for help as well as relooking at their life. Larissa Baxter’s character did nothing for me as I feel she is shallow, dependent on others for her survival and relies solely on her looks. I also think the author is trying to convey not to give up and see the good in people.

There are very few books that have a religious theme that keep my attention from the first page until the last. Garrett accomplished this with his creative characters, the storyline and inspiration that one can make changes in their life regardless of what is going on. I highly recommend “Innocence Denied” by Mike Garrett as it will cause one to take another look at their priorities in life.