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Innocent Crimes


Not for me 😔

Not great, not the worst book I've read either. Couldn't really connect with the main characters and was unconvinced by the plot.


Coming-of-age shouldn't have to involve a crime...

You may ask, is there such a thing as an innocent crime? Not on the streets of Hollywood. Particularly in the case of an alcoholic father who is arrested for a felony he can’t remember committing—even though all DNA evidence shows he’s guilty!

As you dive into these pages, you’ll discover how a naive nineteen-year-old manages to develop the street smarts to help gain her father’s liberty; but not without the cost of losing her well-being...

First read of the new year and a bit of a disappointment if I'm truthful.

Bruce, an alcoholic single parent of Carey, gets arrested for the murder of a prostitute he can't remember meeting. The evidence as such points at him committing the crime. Carey, the daughter, refuses to believe he's capable. Pete, her boyfriend, is a rookie cop and is torn between his responsibilities to the badge and his love and loyalty to Carey, despite his belief that Bruce did the deed.

Following and in a nutshell, we have Carey's obvious concern for her father's predicament and declining health, combined with her somewhat naive efforts to prove him innocent of the crime he's currently being held in jail for. Her efforts set her at odds with Pete and causes fractures in their relationship. 

At the conclusion, we get an answer to the question over Bruce's innocence or guilt and also we establish where the couple's relationship is at.

On the plus side, the book was a quick read, and the pages turned quickly and I didn't ever feel like quitting or throwing it at the wall.

That said, I wasn't especially convinced by the plot which had several weaknesses in my opinion. Would Pete jeopardise his dream job for love? Would an intelligent woman comprise such a madcap scheme to try and deflect from her father's possible guilt and use her boyfriend into the bargain, unconcerned by the consequences of her actions? Unlikely. I just wasn't convinced by any of it.

Similarly the dynamics in the relationships. Carey's love for her father and boyfriend; Bruce's animosity toward Pete; Pete's concern for Carey and the tensions in their relationship as the story unfolded... I just never felt that the characters were real people, as opposed to cardboard cut-outs. There seemed to be no real depth to them and the emotions that the author was endeavouring to portray never connected to me and made me feel like I cared or had an investment in the outcome.

The author introduces a twist or two before the outcome is revealed. Other characters are introduced. We get some involvement in Carey's day job and see her colleagues. We meet Pete's friends on the job and spend a bit of time in their company, and it does help to add a bit of flesh to the bones of the story. I quite like two of the minor characters in the book - the female detective on the case and Sonny, Carey's neighbour-cum-annoying sidekick. Sonny gets more of a look-in with the action than Newman does, which was a shame as she had a bit of zing and chutzpah about her. I found them better company than the main players.

Reasonable setting - LA, followed by a trip down Mexico way for our climax.

Overall verdict: not great, but I've read a lot worse.

Reviewed by

Blogger, reviewer, avid crime fiction reader and book hoarder


Coming-of-age shouldn't have to involve a crime...

You may ask, is there such a thing as an innocent crime? Not on the streets of Hollywood. Particularly in the case of an alcoholic father who is arrested for a felony he can’t remember committing—even though all DNA evidence shows he’s guilty!

As you dive into these pages, you’ll discover how a naive nineteen-year-old manages to develop the street smarts to help gain her father’s liberty; but not without the cost of losing her well-being...


The summer night streetlights reveal a one-story aged building that is overdue a coat of paint. The bar's business name, Side Show, flickers in colored lights against the front window. Suddenly the entrance door swings open!

As the door opens wider, a trail of music makes way for Bruce Kelly, a middle-aged enduring alcoholic. He staggers out while trying to keep his balance but falls backwards onto the Walk-of-Fame marble pavement, on Hollywood Boulevard. Bruce lands in a sitting position with his blue construction shirt slightly unbuttoned. At that same moment, Barbie, a sassy type twenty-something prostitute, approaches.

“Say, cowboy, you look like you could use some company.”

Bruce searches for the owner of the voice and discovers Barbie's slender legs just inches from his face. His bloodshot eyes gradually travel up her fishnet stockings, following the curves of her hips, breast, and finally reaching her ruby lips. Barbie lights a cigarette and the flame introduces her young rough heavy make-up features. As Bruce takes-in the view, Barbie extends her hand to him, and speaks again in her southern accent, “Come-on cowboy, on your feet.”

With Barbie’s help, Bruce advances to a rocking standing position with a broad boozy smile for Barbie. She continues, “My, my, aren’t we a heavy one? What’s your name anyhow?”

Bruce responds with a slur hiccup, “Brrucce, Brrucce, Kellly Junniorr.” Barbie takes Bruce’s arm and escorts him away from the bar entrance.

“Well Bruce Junior, I’m Barbie; ya-know like the doll. So, where’s your wheels, JR?”

Bruce answers, “Wheeels?”

Barbie, irritated by Bruce’s lack of understanding, “Yeah wheels, ya-know, a car, a truck; oh, forget it! You do have money, don’t you?”

Bruce stops and slowly pulls out a small bottle of Jack Daniels from his front pants pocket—along with, unintentionally, a few large bills in his grip. He holds the whiskey bottle out to Barbie. In a slur, “Want some?” he asked.

All Barbie sees is the money. “You’re my kind of man.”

Together they step closer to the edge of the sidewalk. As Barbie tries to flag down a passing taxicab, Bruce takes a seat at her feet on the curb. Moments later, Barbie opens the back door of the cab and signals Bruce to get in—just as he’s taking a quick swig of the whiskey. “Hey cowboy, save some of that for our room,” she said, testily

Due to the motel room front door overhead light being out, Barbie squints to read the number on the door through shadows. In the interim, Bruce hangs on to her shoulder for support to stay on his drunken feet. Barbie finally recognizes the number on the door, she then frees herself from the straining weight of Bruce. “This is it—get off me.”

After Barbie shoves Bruce off her shoulder, he leans his heavy body against the door. With only half-moon light as her guide, Barbie tries, and tries, and tries again to insert the key into the lock. After a long moment, Bruce begins to chuckle as Barbie continues to have trouble finding the keyhole. Barbie grumbles, “What’s so funny?”

With a hiccup and giggle, Bruce answers, “If it had hair around it, you would have gotten-it-in already.”

“Well, I wouldn’t talk in your condition, cowboy.” Then without warning, Barbie turns the key/doorknob and the door flies open forcefully, due to Bruce’s weight. He quickly loses his balance and begins to fall sideways while grasping for Barbie’s support. They both head for a crash landing on the motel floor!

Barbie instantly pushes herself back onto her feet and hits the lights. She then rushes over to the dresser mirror to inspect the damage Bruce did to her back when he grabbed for her during the fall. As she looks at her back in the mirror, she shouts, “You fuckin-ox, you tore my blouse! Fuck! Fuck!—shit, cut your nails man! This is goanna cost you, ya-know.”

Bruce sits up against the door and pulls out his wallet, which attracts Barbie’s attention. He tosses it to her, and she catches it on the first try. She then thumbs through it and picks out most of the bills and quickly stuffs them in her compact. Still seated by the open door, Bruce asks Barbie for help. “Heeey; how-about-a hand?”

Barbie goes over to Bruce. “Come-on you big ox, on your feet.”

As Barbie helps Bruce up, she kicks the door to slam shut, but fails to realize the motel key is still in the door lock. Together they stagger over to the bed where Bruce retires his drunken body. Barbie sits on the edge of the bed and begins undressing.

First, she kicks off her heels; then removes her skirt followed by her black fishnet stockings and lets them fall to the floor. She then grabs both sides of the front of her torn blouse and pulls it apart—which sends the buttons flying violently across the room. With little effort, Barbie removes what’s left of the blouse. “Well thanks to you cowboy, I won’t be needing this anymore.” She tosses it towards the floor of the bathroom entrance.

For emergencies like these, Barbie pulls out a small tank-top from her purse and lays it on the night stand. She then looks over at Bruce, whose eyes are closed; Barbie begins poking him, “Hey, are you awake?”

Bruce responds with only a snore.

“Well, I wasn’t in the mood either,” Barbie murmurs. She then leans over Bruce’s intoxicated body and pulls out the bills she saw earlier along with the bottle of Jack Daniels from his pocket.

Barbie tries a sip of the straight whiskey. “Damn; I need water with this shit.” In her under garments, she parades around the cheap motel room searching for a glass. Her search takes her into the bathroom.

Barbie clicks on the light and closes the bathroom door behind her. She locates a paper cup and pours a shot of whiskey into it; but before adding water, she pauses and turns around to catch a better view of her back in the mirror.

Barbie hops on the counter and removes her bra for a closer look at the deep scratch Bruce created during the fall. The scratch reveals some signs of blood. Barbie reaches behind to touch the damaged skin and quickly flinches from the stinging pain, “Fuck.” She then pours the shot of whisky down her back to disinfect the scratch. As it reaches the gash, it mixes with her blood and continues to flow down the curve of her spine. Barbie quickly takes a drink of the whisky straight from the bottle to ease the sting.

Meanwhile, the flow of whisky on her back begins to mix and spread the blood down onto her underwear—instantly creating a small stain. Barbie immediately notices the stain forming and hops off the counter, “Oh shit, not my panties!” She then briskly slips off her underwear and begins to vigorously run water through the stained area. As she rinses her undies, with all her attention facing down into the sink, she doesn’t notice the bathroom doorknob slowly turning








About the author

Although “Innocent Crimes” was originally written as a movie script years ago, Art Gomez's Tinseltown contacts put his dream on hold—indefinitely. However, thanks to the encouragement of other writers & ardent book reading friends, Art was motivated to convert this coming-of-age story into a book. view profile

Published on January 01, 2019

Published by

40000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Reviewed by