Evolution's Magnum Opus

Innocence on Trial

Fiction - Literary
320 Pages
Reviewed on 03/19/2021
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Evolution’s Magnum Opus: Innocence on Trial by Stephen Roth is an astonishing legal thriller that features a dramatic courtroom incident in a young man’s life and how it determines the choices he makes as an adult. When Tommy Henderson’s mother encourages him to testify in the trial involving his teacher in a case of sexual assault, he is confident that everything is going to be all right, assured by both lawyer and mother. But Lester Mobey, an experienced defense attorney, is ruthless in his cross-examination of Tommy and leaves the boy emotionally and psychologically shaken to the core. Tom Henderson pursues a career as a lawyer as an adult, and now he is faced with a difficult case involving his son. Can he save his son’s life and what will it take for him to succeed?

A beautiful legal thriller, well-written and hugely provocative. This unusually eloquent story is also about the fragile nature of justice. It reads like a deeply personal story, but its brilliant, startling plot twists make it memorable as a legal thriller. Stephen Roth brings into the story his experience in law and writes characters and scenes that are not only believable but emotionally engaging and thought-provoking. The hard spare prose and the arresting narrative voice are among the elements that make the story an outstanding tale. The themes of family, justice, and the relationships between father and son and pupil and teacher are deftly written. Evolution’s Magnum Opus: Innocence on Trial has good courtroom drama, unforgettable characters, and a plot that is filled with interesting points.

Stephanie Chapman

Stephen Roth's Evolution's Magnum Opus: Innocence On Trial is everything I could ever ask for in a suspenseful psychological thriller. Ten-year-old Tommy Henderson testifies against his teacher Robert Hiller. Despite Assistant District Attorney Sussman's preparation and Linda Henderson's constant coaching, Tommy ends up saying he wasn't being completely truthful and Hiller is acquitted in court. Despite the court's decision, Hiller and Tommy face torment in the court of life. After the trial, Linda failed to be emotionally available to her son, and he became somewhat of a juvenile delinquent. At age sixteen, Tommy pulled a hidden note from his dresser and decided he had to make a clean break from a despairing life. Ryan Hart was somewhat shocked to open his door to a student from eighth grade holding a note he had written. Tommy remembered what his teacher had said: “I will always be someone you can count on.”

The quality of this book is exceptional, and I was impressed with how Tommy's character is developed throughout the book. The suspense of the story is very intense and realistic. While Hiller had been found not guilty, in the public eye he was. The reputation of Tommy was ruined as well. Appearances are deceiving, and I was constantly shocked by the turn of events that continue throughout Evolution's Magnum Opus: Innocence On Trial. Stephen Roth's writing drew me in and I kept second-guessing what I thought were facts; the finale of the book was amazing and unpredictable. I rate this as a 5-star book without a doubt.

Ankita Shukla

Evolution's Magnum Opus: Innocence on Trial by Stephen Roth is a literary fiction novel that explores the impact of a courtroom drama on the life of Tommy Henderson and his relationships. Tommy Henderson was only ten years old when he had to testify against his teacher for sexual assault. Crown Attorney Jonathon Sussman presented a powerful case in front of Tommy and Linda (Tommy's mother) to convince them to take a stand against Robert Hiller, the teacher. Ironically, he did not perform so well in the actual trial. Consequently, Robert Hiller was free to go, and Tommy was left to pick up the pieces afterward. As his relationship worsened with his mother, he decided to leave his past and step into the unknown without his tormented mother. However, the past has a way of catching up to us, when we least expect it. The same thing happened to Tommy when, after years, he found himself face to face with Crown Attorney Jonathon Sussman.

Stephen Roth has perfected psychological and courtroom drama. Each character in Evolution's Magnum Opus is facing their demons and harboring devastating secrets. It is fascinating to get to know these characters and what motivates them to act in a certain way. The beginning of the story was nail-biting; the anticipation of the possible outcome of the trial was absolutely gripping. The end of Evolution's Magnum Opus: Innocence on Trial has mind-numbing twists to remind readers why they started reading in the first place. For me, the beginning and the end are the best parts of the book that made reading it absolutely worthwhile. Readers who enjoy discovering many shades of the human mind will find Evolution's Magnum Opus: Innocence on Trial by Stephen Roth a thought-provoking story.

Vincent Dublado

A courtroom’s witness stand is an intense and scary spot for any young boy. That is the case with Tommy Henderson, as he gives testimony in the sexual assault by his teacher, Robert Hiller. Author Stephen Roth examines the traumatic and pressuring courtroom experience of a child in Evolution's Magnum Opus: Innocence on Trial. Tommy is afraid of breaking the Omerta that he forged with his teacher about their very special relationship and that what they were doing was okay. But Hiller’s lawyer, Lester Mobey, is the bigger shark in the courtroom, who is intent on devouring young Tommy by discrediting his testimony and securing an acquittal for his client. As if this is not enough, Tommy has to choose his words carefully, as coached by his attorney, Jonathon Sussman. Hiller’s fate depends on whether or not the jury will find him guilty on all twenty-one counts. As for Tommy, this harrowing experience leads him to suffer from PTSD, a disorder that he will bring into adulthood and dramatically affect his predicament of saving his own son.

You should give credit to Stephen Roth for bravely bringing forth a sensitive topic that he elaborates on vividly. The story is not confined to the courtroom, as it demonstrates the repercussions of child sexual abuse years ahead into the adult life of the victim. It works with greater intelligence and sympathy when you think that the plot is inspired by Roth and his fellow schoolmates’ experience in their teacher’s cabin back in the early 80s. As for the novel, you might find it easy to guess what transpired in the courtroom, but the surprising twist is what happens to young Tommy in his adult years. Evolution’s Magnum Opus is a loud expression in the field of child sexual abuse. In the countless details of Tommy’s ordeal in the novel, you can see that the theme is handled with tactful understanding. And for that, it deserves to be read.