Author Gianrico Carofiglio brings to light the real moral struggle defense lawyers endure in defending the criminals they are hired to represent. Carofiglio puts his readers in the seat of thinking like the counsel for the defense through his character Avvocato Guido Guerrieri. Guido prides himself in only taking select clients for defense and does not represent the Mafioso or heinous crimes in which he does not believe in the innocence of his client; however, in A Fine Line, Guido lets his vanity take precedence over his better judgment when Judge Larocca requests Guido represent him against allegations of corruption. Guido blindly believes in Larocca’s innocence, partly because it fits conveniently with the way Guido views his own moral code, and partly because his record seems impeccable. When Guido’s investigation, and private detective Annapaola, turns up evidence against the judge, will Guido fulfill his oath to his client or fight for the better good of the justice system?
“If a client of yours is charged with theft, receiving stolen goods, or even something more serious, do you have to know he’s innocent to defend him? No. Precisely. You do your best, you make sure the rules are followed, you try to get him acquitted if possible or to ensure he gets a light sentence.”
A Fine Line is not simply a legal thriller, but it is also an observation on human nature and the impossible line of morality in judicial ethics. Guido is placed in a difficult position as he is ethically and legally bound to serve his client and bring him no harm, regardless of the harm that representing his client could cause to the tentative balance of the judicial system as a whole. The story is intriguing and Guido continually finds himself in sticky situations, but what I really loved was the way Carofiglio represented Guido’s talents in defending his clients with surgical precision and his ability to break down a witness’s testimony- highlighting the weaknesses that others miss. A Fine Line is a great legal thriller that will make you contemplate the judicial system and the fragile balance that makes it all come together to work successfully.