This is Jodi Picoult’s eighth novel, so she has her formula down pat: select an issue, build interest by immersing the reader in time and place, grab the reader’s emotions by having compelling characters, solve the problems via the courthouse, which means that nearly all her novels end with a courtroom drama.
This was true in THE PLAIN TRUTH, her seventh novel. It is also true in SALEM FALLS. Like Katie Fisher in THE PLAIN TRUTH, Jack St. Bride, is wrongly accused. Like Katie Fisher, Jack St Bride has complications to deal with which make his situation all the more dire. While Katie’s complications included being Amish, and having no memory of what happened to her baby (she was asleep when he disappeared), Jack’s include being a stranger in a close-knit New England village, and being a convicted rapist.
Somehow, Jack (like Katie) gets out of his predicament, but Jodi Picoult is such a good writer it is not at all obvious that he will be saved from his fate of spending the rest of his life in prison. Five Stars.