Even the most virtuous among us has a few skeletons in their closet. It can be easy, especially in our fast-paced, technology-fueled, highly competitive capitalist world, to live a life that is less than perfect in terms of morality and priorities. We can usually skate by this way; but Ben Berkley, in his thrilling courtroom drama In Defense of Guilt (Koehler Books, October 24, 2018), imagines what might happen if you were forced to come face to face with your sins-and be judged for them. In a revelatory novel that will keep readers turning pages from the first word, Berkley subtly reminds us that in the end, we're all dispensable, and it's important to live each day with that in mind.

Lauren Hill is a chic, sophisticated, and driven defense attorney who has never lost a case. Some might call her a workaholic. When she represents a man accused of throwing his wife overboard on a cruise, she, as usual, begins to artfully present her case. Courtroom proceedings start to take a turn, however, when the presiding Judge Howell morphs into God, and only Lauren can see him. Her personal life becomes the content of the case instead of her client's alleged crimes. Forced to question her own actions over the course of her life, she confronts infidelity, poor parenthood, and self-absorption. As the Almighty questions her, he charges Lauren with committing the seven deadly sins. But is this real or fantasy? Is Lauren on the edge of a nervous breakdown, or is God presiding and ultimately deciding Lauren's fate?

With In Defense of Guilt, Berkley leverages years of experience as an attorney for this page-turning courtroom procedural that toys with the genre in a unique way - giving us a look behind the scenes both in the courtroom and in the lives of busy, practicing lawyers.

"I have known too many friends and colleagues who were workaholics, sacrificing time they would've had with their families. Then, a divorce occurs, or there is a medical crisis, and they wake up and wonder where the time went," says Berkley. "I have taken my experiences as an attorney and weaved them together into stories I hope people will learn from."

Berkley's experience is evident in his handling of, and commentary on, the legal system in the book, but he infuses the story with enough fun, and his protagonist Lauren with so much personality, that it never seems too heavy. Ultimately, In Defense of Guilt is a story about self-discovery, love, and the kind of justice we all grapple with in our every day lives. Fans of smart legal thrillers, like those by John Grisham and Scott Turow, will gravitate towards this unique and eminently readable book.

About the Author:

From as far back as he can remember Benjamin Berkley was always fascinated by law. Growing up in Long Beach, New York, his daily schedule revolved around grainy black and white reruns of Perry Mason, who with the help of Della Street, solved the most complicated of crimes imaginable - wining cases for their all but convicted clients. It came as no surprise to his family and friends that upon high school graduation, young Berkley chose law as his career path.

After years of intense study, Berkley earned his Juris Doctorate degree and has practiced law for over forty years. In Defense of Guilt (2018) is Benjamin Berkley's second novel. He is also the author of four self-help books as well as his first novel, Against My Will, (2012) and is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Berkley lives in southern California with his wife Phyllis and their cat Riley. He has two grown children and is always bragging about his five amazing grandchildren.

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