Book Review: The Wrong Side

I discovered author Robert Bailey last year and after reading the first of his Bocephus Haynes series, I was eager for the second book. It did not disappoint.


A battle-worn lawyer fights for a young man’s life in this criminally enthralling legal thriller.

Teen pop star Brittany Crutcher is found dead in small-town Tennessee. For attorney Bocephus Haynes, it’s just another night in Pulaski. Bo swore off criminal work after his last case, but the beloved singer’s murder demands answers.

The prime suspect is local high school football hero and the victim’s boyfriend, Odell Champagne. However, this fallen athlete is one of Bo’s son’s best friends. Bo knows this young man and does not believe him capable of the crime.

When Odell is charged with murder, Bo reluctantly takes the case, sparking outrage throughout the town. But as Bo follows the evidence, he learns that the victim made decisions in her last hours that would give powerful forces motive to harm her. Feeling mounting pressure from the community and the DA, Bo forges ahead. But as the seconds count down, he wonders whether justice is even possible.

My Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Bo Haynes is a successful attorney in the town of Pulaski, Tennessee. He’s a widower, raising his two teenage children. When Brittany Crutcher, a popular up-and-coming rock star is found murdered, her boyfriend Odell Champagne is arrested and charged. Odell is a talented high school football senior with prospects of playing in college and even the NFL. He’s also a friend of Bo’s son, T. J.

After his successful defense of District Attorney Helen Lewis in a murder charge a year earlier, Bo had all but sworn off of taking criminal cases. But when Odell asks for his representation, he visits the boy in jail. Odell’s life had been less than ideal. He was abandoned by his father at a young age and his mother has a serious addiction problem. Odell also has a record of theft and was kicked out of his former school due to an assault.

Brittany’s popularity makes this a high-profile case, and Pulaski’s citizens demand justice for her. If Bo takes the case, it could have consequences—not only for him but also for his children. The last thing he wants to do is place them in any danger. Yet he can’t dismiss his belief that Odell is innocent. One of my favorite lines from the book is by Bo’s son, T. J. “Well… sometimes doing right can put you on the wrong side of your friends.”

Unlike a lot of legal thrillers, this book isn’t exclusively courtroom drama. Bailey delves into the lives of the characters. As a reader who enjoys character-driven fiction, this is a plus for me. It’s written in four parts with short, easy-to-read chapters.

As far as the killer’s identity, I thought I had it figured out, then I didn’t. The story wrapped up with a satisfying ending and left the door open for a third book of the series. For those who haven’t read Legacy of Lies, I recommend reading it first. The Wrong Side is an easy five stars for me.