BOOK REVIEW: Mark Gimenez – The Absence of Guilt

Front cover of the book The Absence of Guilt by Mark Gimenez

Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Sphere
ISBN-10: 0751567329
ISBN-13: 978-0751567328
June 15, 2017

Mark Gimenez’s background in law (he practiced law with a large Dallas law firm and was a partner for many years) has given a credible feeling to the whole layout of his plot. Researched incredibly well using up to date events, The Absence of Guilt grabs hold from the start.

An ISIS attack on America is narrowly averted when the FBI uncovers a plot to detonate a weapon of mass destruction in Dallas, Texas during the Super Bowl.

A federal grand jury indicts twenty-four co-conspirators, including Omar al Mustafa, a notorious and charismatic Muslim cleric known for his incendiary anti-American diatribes on YouTube and Fox news. His arrest is greeted with cheers around the world and relief at home. The President goes on national television and proclaims: ‘We won!’

There is only one problem: there is no evidence against Mustafa. That problem falls to the presiding judge, newly appointed U.S District Judge A. Scott Fenney. If Mustafa is innocent, Scott must set the most dangerous man in Dallas free, with no idea who is really guilty.

Gimenez uses a countdown to the Super Bowl, where the attack is to take place, alongside another event that takes Judge Fenney on a personal mission – one crisis is averted and then another begins.

There are points earlier on in the book where Gimenez’s extensive knowledge of the law comes into play. The decisions that Judge Fenney makes in his courtroom, crucially one that could potentially jeopardize over one hundred thousand American lives sits heavily on his shoulders. This is when Gimenez really puts flesh onto the bones of Judge Fenney – to understand the man and how he reaches his decisions and the impact it has on his personal life.

As the pace quickens Gimenez splits his narrative so that all of the action (mainly the Super Bowl game) is seen through the point of view of all involved. This makes for a more engaging read, incorporating all involved, the good, bad and the innocent.

This story was triggered by a meeting with a terrorist when Gimenez was practising law in Dallas in the late 1980s. Inspired by this one event and using his knowledge of the American law, Gimenez has successfully produced a nail biter of a story. Incredibly well written and with characters to both love and hate The Absence of Guilt has to be on your list of books to read this summer.


The Absence of Guilt