Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham (May 2012, Hodder & Stoughton , ISBN: 1444758470)
Review: Theodore Boone: The Accused is the third in the Theo series and takes place about four months after the first in the series, Theodore Boone. It returns to the case that Theo was following and getting involved in, in the first book: the trial of Pete Duffy for the murder of his wife. Theo's discovery of a witness forced a mistrial.
The retrial is about to begin but then there is a huge problem: Pete Duffy has disappeared. He can't be found and rumours start to fly that's he's skipped the country or jumped off a bridge.
Then Theo finds himself the target of a series of at first minor annoyances – a slashed tyre on his bike, items stolen from his school locker but then it becomes serious. Theo is accused of stealing some computers and phones from a down-town store and when the police check his locker there are some of the stolen items inside.
Theo's life becomes miserable. Everyone is talking about him, how the son of two lawyers is a thief. Theo protests his innocence and his family and friends support him but a trip to the Youth Court and worse, detention in a juvenile centre cannot be far away unless he finds out who hates him enough to frame him like this. Fortunately his uncle Ike, who has helped him before (in The Abduction) has an idea and Theo with the help of his friends, gets to the bottom of the matter.
The Accused is back to the standard of the first book thankfully, the second was a bit dull to be frank, and the tension doesn't let up in this one. Who and why are these horrible things happening to him? There is a strong moral message that if you are good, you will be found innocent and that your true friends will help you. The fact that the police don't immediately arrest Theo is slightly inexplicable as they don't seem to doubt that he's their "man". Being the son of two wealthy lawyers probably helps. I'm not altogether comfortable with some of the views expressed in this book. Theo describes a possible suspect for the burglary as "a quiet kid who seemed moody, often troubled, and who wore his hair a bit too long and listened to heavy metal". A couple of other things irked me: the fact that it's made clear that the Boone family eat out most nights and the parents share the cooking at home and yet the kitchen is still called Mrs Boone's, and this from a police officer who "..knew no woman would want the police or anyone else poking through their house".
Slightly old-fashioned views aside this is an exciting read aimed at a younger reader, I'd say quite a bit younger though than Theo's thirteen, but readers of any age should enjoy it.
As before, there are adult and children's editions.