Author: Ginger Simpson
Publisher: Books We Love Publishing Partners
Rating: You Gotta Read (highest rating on site)
Carrie Lang’s sheltered life ends with a prison sentence for involvement in a bank robbery. Her arrest comes on the day she’s called in sick and stayed inside, so she has no explanation how an eye-witness describes her in great detail, down to the make and model of her car. A terrible mistake’s been made, and her insistence of innocence falls on deaf ears, even among her fellow inmates. A plan for retribution is brewing, and naive Carrie finds herself smack dab in the middle of an evil scheme concocted by the prison bully. A ten year sentence seems mild when she’s threatened with death for refusing to participate. Can Carrie find a way out of this horrible nightmare, or is she destined to spend her days locked in terror, isolation, and the cold gray interior of prison walls?
Carrie's character is one that readers will easily identify with. Vulnerable to a certain point, we see Carrie coming into her own and becoming a stronger person as her jail time progresses. Her character will evoke just about every emotion, especially despair, frustration and finally hope.
When Seth's character was introduced, I wasn't sure if he was a good guy or bad guy. I won't tell you which and trust me when I say, you will be flipping the pages as fast as you can to find out. The interaction between Carrie and Seth gives depth to this book and the end .... well, all I can say is my mouth was hanging open. It was a very surprising ending that you just don't want to miss.
Then we meet the prison bully, Jet. With a score to settle, she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Jet's character was exasperating. I found myself strongly disliking her and wishing she would get her due punishment. Ms. Simpson created the perfect villain in Jet, a true manipulator, while at the same time giving her some very real qualities that one minute had you liking her and the next wishing she would drop off the face of the earth.
First Degree Innocence is an extremely unique book in that it gives the reader a legitimate glimpse into the lives of the incarcerated while throwing several twists into the story. It was a riveting and highly entertaining read. Ms. Simpson writes about interesting characters and complex plot lines while at the same time drawing the reader in with each new page. This is one author who sure didn't pull any punches with First Degree Innocence and you will be immersed in Carrie's world within the first paragraph. This book starts out with a bang and continues through to the last page. First Degree Innocence is an exceptional book that will have you hooked right from the beginning. If you love to root for the underdog, look no further, you've found the perfect book.
NOW READ THIS!!!
Author: Ginger Simpson
Genre: Suspense / MysteryReviewed by: DawnColclasure
Received 2 Stars
Carrie Lang is wrongfully convicted of a crime and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Despite claiming her innocence, she is harshly treated by the prison guards – except for one she has her eye on, and who seems to have his eye on her, too. Targeted by the prison bully Jillian “Jet” Duke, sweet and innocent Carrie, who has never even had a parking ticket, seeks comfort and protection among the friends she makes with other female prisoners. Then Jet tries to set Carrie up, but is she willing to go through with the evil bully’s plan, even if it means death should she say no? Will she ever prove her innocence and be set free? And will she ever have a future with Seth, the prison guard she can only dream of sharing love with?
This story started out as it would for any innocent woman wrongfully imprisoned: Carrie is scared, humiliated, harassed and alone. She is naïve – and it would seem too naïve, as she trusts everyone so easily and is afraid to speak her mind. She’s afraid to show how she really feels towards her cellmates and afraid to stand up against Jet. Innocent or not, it would not seem that Carrie is that innocent, as she puts so much energy on thinking of Matron Ogden as the one with the “ugly face” and how she’d like to punch Ogden “in her ugly face” on her way out once she is set free. Carrie tries to adjust to prison life by joking around with her cellmate Susanna, and it would seem there is so much “sisterhood” between her and her other cellmates who she often plays bridge with during rec. It just didn’t seem realistic. Also, even when Carrie tries to act tough later in the story, she crumbles when it’s time to face the music. She talks the talk but she can’t walk the walk.
This book should have shown what life is really like for an innocent woman behind bars but I suspect it majorly fell short in that regard. Because Carrie is so spineless, naïve and unreasonable to even fall for a prison guard was a huge turn-off. She was not a likable character; I prefer a story with a leading female character who is strong, confident and smart. Also, the prison guard who falls for Carrie in return did not strike me as someone who could actually be a prison guard in real life. He is too emotional and lets his guard down easily – dangerous factors for a prison guard.
First Degree Innocence by Ginger Simpson was a lukewarm story that could have been better. The only thing interesting about it was the huge plot twist the author throws in at the end.
Note from Ginger: Perhaps you'd like to read it for yourself and be the judge. *lol* I also would like to point out that I was a Correctional Officer for a year and I have first-hand experience about how inmates interact with one another. You either acclimate, make friends, or become a loner who isn't treated very well. I guess that's where the saying, "When life gives you lemons, you make lemmonade." lol. Amazing how people assume they know more than they do, but that's why everyone needs to make their own decisions and not be swayed by someone elses.