4 star

Benefit of The Doubt

By Neal Griffin

ISBN: 9780765338501

Author website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt



Neal Griffin is a twenty-five year veteran of law enforcement. He’s seen it all, from routine patrols to drug enforcement to homicide investigations, from corrupt cops to men and women who went far above and beyond the call of duty.


Benefit of the Doubt is a gripping thriller that exposes the dark underbelly of policing in small-town America, where local police departments now deal with big-city crimes and corruption.


Ben Sawyer was a big-city cop, until he nearly killed a helpless suspect in public. Now a detective in the tiny Wisconsin town where he and his wife grew up, Ben suspects that higher-ups are taking payoffs from local drug lords.


Before long, Ben is off the force. His wife is accused of murder. His only ally is another outcast, a Latina rookie cop. Worse, a killer has escaped from jail with vengeance on his mind, and Newburg–and Ben Sawyer–in his sights.


Benefit of The Doubt is a hard hitting thriller and cop based crime novel. Descriptive writing that is packed with emotion, raw anger, terror and fear fill this book. The action of others cause chain reaction of severe consequences. Neal Griffin’s years in law enforcement show through in his first novel. Rough language, savage images and the emotions faced by today’s police department are portrayed with a flourish of well-developed characters in and out of the uniform. Intense and action packed, intelligent and thought provoking, Benefit of The Doubt is a wild ride, so hang on.

Ben Sawyer and his family, wife Alex and son Jake, return to their home town with their tails between their legs. After a disgraceful departure from busy Oakland, CA police department, Ben is working as sergeant in Newburg, Wisconsin. Ben’s father-in-law and idol Lars, fell ill just after their arrival back home. Ben is left without a soul on his side at the force. At the same time a criminal named Harlan Lee has just been released after 17 years in prison and he is seeking revenge. Ben’s family pays a hefty price because of Lars’ actions and participation as an officer. Ben learns that maybe he is not without friends on the force in his time of need.

This book is full of characters I, as a reader did not like one bit. Very few that I did like. My favorite character has to be young officer Tia. She is loyal, hardworking and ass kicking. Until her appearance I was at a loss for any character to cheer for. I was put off by what I saw as self-pity and self-indulgence by two main characters, Ben and Alex. As the story and action grew I changed my opinion. Bernice is another character I enjoyed. Former receptionist to Chief Lars when he was in office and receptionist to the current and crooked chief, she was a welcome character. The edginess and harshness of most of the characters felt right for this book. Somehow it flowed and popped with action and grittiness and the characters worked.

Benefit of The Doubt is a wonderful first novel. Neal Griffin’s writing is intense and his characters are well written. This book has more than enough bad guys and they have different degrees of evil. Full of emotion that drags the reader kicking and screaming through the fierce storyline. I would recommend this novel to readers that enjoy thrilling cop based reads. Lots of action and several murders keep this book on the harder side, along with some bad language and graphic details. Intriguing and definitely thought provoking, this is a powerful first novel.


*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*