Review: ‘State of Innocence:’ Compelling thriller. 4 stars

In the new and compelling thriller, “The State of Innocence,” Alexia Rodriquez-McKenzie is a troubled little girl, and suburban Mom/therapist Kimberley Mason is determined to find  out why.

Each of them shares a life event whose terrible nature draws them together and acts as the pivot around which this well-crafted story spins.

Authors S.K. Mason, an Australian therapist,  and Debra Scacciaferro, an American writer and editor, performed an international writing gig to complete this tale based on an actual event.

Set in the Hudson Valley of New York State, the story contrasts Kimberley’s calm, pleasant suburban life with the life led by Alexia, whose parents Connor and Isabella struggle with poverty, addictions and  troubled pasts. Alexia’s case is a challenge to the somewhat inexperienced Kimberley, and at times she feels lost.

The title refers as much to Kimberley’s state of innocence as that of Alexia.

As Kimberley gets deeper into the mess that is Alexia’s life — and as she tries to throw the little girl a lifeline – the troubles seep into Kimberley’s life. Her husband Ammon becomes both defensive and concerned as he sees his  wife sink into the raw event that changed her life.

“The State of Innocence” lives at that crossroad where the terrible, squirming past, and the lies to cover the pain – “Oh, yes, Honey, I’m okay,” – collide.

That collision takes Kimberley and Connor on a frightening trip that carries the second part of the book to a dramatic, crushing conclusion that  leaves one question: Can you burn away all that hurts in one act?

The story is well-paced and the characters compelling.

Well done and well thought out, this is a story worth reading.

Thrilling story that touches hearts (

About michaelstephendaigle

I have been writing most of my life. I am the author of the award-winning Frank Nagler Mystery series. "The Swamps of Jersey (2014); "A Game Called Dead" (2016) -- a Runner-Up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Author Contest; and "The Weight of Living" (2017) -- First Place winner for Mysteries in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards Contest.
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