A disturbing examination of judicial negligence and bias.
Kirkus Reviews

The Edge of Doubt

It was a stunning tale. I normally don’t read non-fiction or true crime and am not certain why I chose this one, but it was so well-researched and written so well that it made for a compelling read, with notes on each chapter explaining anywhere the dialogue had been enhanced and any other explanation the author felt necessary. . . . Extremely well done.

Goodreads Review, The Edge of Doubt

Gripping and intense! This true crime narrative is compelling and devastating in its retelling of the case against Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen. I was pulled in from the first page and turned page after page almost in disbelief at times, at what was happening in this case. It has stayed with me and I find myself wondering how such a travesty of justice could be real. Of course, I’m well aware these types of cases happen every day. An engrossing read well worth your time.

Goodreads Review, The Edge of Doubt

This is such a disturbing case and the author does an excellent job of leading the reader through the evidence. Meticulously researched and surprisingly neutral in presentation, the book provides a great deal of information to allow the reader to determine their own views. It is alarming to think such a miscarriage of justice could occur and the author has chosen well in selecting this case to throw open.
Louise Gray

Goodreads Review, The Edge of Doubt

Just finished reading the Edge of Doubt by David Miraldi. Excellent writing and documentation of a crime committed in the 90’s against children in Lorain, Ohio. This is a true story and the author tells the story of 2 people charged with the crime. Powerful reading and learning about how the Justice system works or does it? The Author brings to life the numerous people involved in the investigation and those who worked for the system and those who tried to use the system to their benefit.

Shocking behavior, examinations, testimony for and against the system. A must read that will hold your interest, bring tears to your eyes, and cause doubt to yourself and a wanting to reach out and give help to those who desperately need it. Congrats to the Author David Miraldi.


Amazon Reader, The Edge of Doubt

Wow! What a read! Totally engrossing. I think that the author should set aside funds to compensate readers for lost meals, sleep, and complete shattering of one’s routine while reading this book.
Paula S.

Amazon Reader, The Edge of Doubt

Reading this book gave me insight to the complexity and weaknesses of the judicial system. Difficult at times to read due to the rawness of storyline. I was able to understand why the jury made their decision. Our legal system is blind in some instances.
Steve Ruffle

Amazon Reader, The Edge of Doubt

Miraldi, once again, delivers a novel of a criminal trial that keeps the reader spellbound from start to finish. We find ourselves intrigued with the many missteps and mishandling of a case that ends with a guilty sentence for two individuals that appear to be not guilty.
This is a must read for all who appreciate that our criminal system has and will continue to make decisions that causes the imprisonment of the innocent. The novel will enlighten and broaden your scope to view a glaring tragedy of injustice.
Kathleen Zichi

Amazon Reader, The Edge of Doubt

David Miraldi’s third book is a superb and eloquent retelling of a justice system gone awry during an era of mass hysteria alleging sexual perversion with children, when many caregivers were wrongly convicted by zealous investigators and overly ambitious prosecutors. This is one such true story from the author’s (and my) hometown, Lorain, Ohio. This is the stuff movies are made of!
John Sulpizio

Amazon Reader, The Edge of Doubt

Even better than the first two books. Read it in two sittings because I had to get to the end. Hope there is another one coming.
Rick Buckosh

Amazon Reader, The Edge of Doubt

Even if true crime is not your preferred genre, I recommend this book to friends and family.

I have to tell you this story will open your eyes and occasionally make you feel like you, yourself, are falling off the edge of doubt. Those of you too young to remember the rash of 1990s cases nationwide involving the sexual abuse of children by child-care workers or divorcing spouses seeking sole custody may not be aware of how prevalent the cases were for a time – years. With David Miraldi we will follow the criminal charges, trials, and incarcerations of Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen in the small Ohio town of Lorain. Rumor, innuendo, and rage flowed out from the city center, and justice was defined as ‘Who will pay? Who will pay for these atrocities against our children? Someone has to pay NOW.” But Justice was lost. Lost in the shuffle. And we know who will suffer the repercussions. Nancy and Joseph. But are they guilty? Does it matter?

Bonnye Reed Fry

Amazon Reader , The Edge of Doubt

Reviewed in the United States on September 13, 2023
This true crime novel, is normally not something I would read however something made me want to read this one and boy was I right. This story is put together very well by the author and sometimes it’s hard to fathom that this actually happened.

We know that people talking and gossiping can spread like wildfire, however you can’t always believe what you hear or what you think is right. People’s lives were ruined and while the read of the story was well written and truly kept my interest, it’s sad that this happened.

Michelle McRoberts

Amazon Reader, The Edge of Doubt

This true crime narrative is compelling and devastating in its retelling of the case against Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen. I was pulled in from the first page and turned page after page, almost in disbelief at times, at what was happening in this case. It has stayed with me and I find myself wondering how such a travesty of justice could be real. Of course, I’m well aware these types of cases happen every day. An engrossing read well worth your time.

Amazon Reader, The Edge of Doubt

The Edge of Doubt by David Miraldi is the true story, written in narrative form, making it read like a novel. It is the story of a police investigation fueled, not by evidence but, by hysteria and the media. Someone accused the bus driver of molesting a little girl when she was supposed to be at Head Start. It grew from there with others joining in and parents running the investigation. The jury convicted on emotion, not evidence, and two people’s lives were ruined, not to mention the children’s. It was a stunning tale. I normally don’t read non-fiction or true crime and am not certain why I chose this one, but it was so well-researched and written so well that it made for a compelling read, with notes on each chapter explaining anywhere the dialogue had been enhanced and any other explanation the author felt necessary.

This was a well-done book and one everyone should read in these days where media is king and can do no wrong. There are also certain crimes that always call for emotion Crimes against children are at the top of the list. Mass hysteria is certainly no way to run an investigation. Extremely well done.

Ann R. Marshall

Amazon Reader, The Edge of Doubt

The Edge of Doubt by David Miraldi is a book about two people whose lives are forever changed. The story which is set in Lorain, Ohio, in the early 1990s. Nancy Smith is a single mother with four children and Nancy works three jobs to support her family. One of Nancy jobs is as a preschool bus driver who drives the children to school and home each day. The other person is Joseph Allen who is a handyperson with a criminal record. One day an accusation was filed with the police by a mum who told them that her daughter came home saying she had been abused by her bus driver who was called Nancy and a black man called Joseph. The police then began to investigate both under the suspicion of sexually abusing children.

This is the horrible story about Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen and the abuse case against them. The book is Gripping and intense! As you read this story you will be alarmed to think such an injustice could occur but as you follow the meticulously researched book it provides a great deal of information to allow the reader to determine their own views.
There are so many flaws in the case from the police breaking all the fundamental rules when questioning young children about potential sexual abuse. The author does an excellent job of leading the reader through the evidence. From reading trial transcripts, combing through newspaper you will follow the criminal charges, trials, and incarcerations of Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen in the small Ohio town of Lorain. This book would be one of the most injustice cases I have read and it ends up taking 30 years before justice finally prevails.

This book is a very fascinating True crime of Innocents denied and is extremely superbly detailed and researched by the author David Miraldi. Definitely check this book out as is a must read to help fight against injustice and to right the wrongs of the people who are innocent and wrongly convicted. Thanks to NetGalley and to the publishers of this book for giving me a free advance copy of the book to preview and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


Amazon Reader, The Edge of Doubt

• This deeply disturbing true story involving four children under the age of 5 whose parents claimed they were sexually abused by their bus driver and a civilian. This is a true story which took place in Loran, Ohio in 1993 and 1994. The author pieced dialog together mostly from public records. He provides chapter notes on sources. Tie story was not a quick read; rather, I found myself mulling over the details as I slowed down to take in the details as the story unfolded.

You will find multiple reasons to disbelieve the flawed investigations. Poor police practices, witness contamination, and manipulation of (very) young children brought a story with minimal evidence to trial. Local political leaders demanded a trial with an expected a verdict of guilty.

The prosecutor held back exculpatory evidence and wowed the jury with his ability to make defense witnesses freeze up at the trial. The jury came to a quick decision. Initially, reasonable doubt was discarded, and two innocent adults were found guilty and sentenced to long jail terms. After the initial trial, multiple people discovered information that was not disclosed at the trial; Ohio state law blocked attempts to try to re-open the case.

When you persevere through the details, you will find that persistence convinced many professionals, jurists, and family members to see things in a different light. Guilt changed to innocence after two decades.

Spoke 36

Amazon Reader, The Edge of Doubt

Gripping Book Inhabited by Rich, Engaging Characters
[T]he legal scenes . . . are both gripping and a fascinating insight into the everyday workings of the American justice system. It is well-told, feels accurate and authentic, and it’s inhabited with rich, engaging characters. An excellent account of an event that altered many people’s lives forever.

Rubery Book Award Judges

in naming The Edge of Malice as one of the finalists for best nonfiction work in 2021, The Edge of Malice

A Superbly Crafted Nonfiction Drama That Transcends True-Crime Genre Expectations.
With a seasoned storyteller’s panache, attorney Miraldi narrates the harrowing true-life tale of Marie Grossman, whose life was irrevocably altered in 1987 when she was victimized by a random point-blank shooting. The author’s strong narrative voice hooks readers from the beginning, as he demonstrates a natural dramatic and novelistic flair for setting and pacing with more than a hint of Joseph Wambaugh and John Grisham throughout. Miraldi switches effortlessly between points of view . . . . vividly re-creating her legal battles ‘scene by meticulous scene’ later in the text. The author also turns in some appealing observational writing along the way … with an unanticipated twist. A superbly crafted nonfiction drama that transcends true-crime genre expectations.

Kirkus Reviews

The Edge of Malice

Another Winner!
Miraldi’s second novel doesn’t disappoint! Once again, this read is a page turner. The author’s style allows one to get caught up in the intrigue of a case with just enough legalese without overwhelming the reader.

The story is compelling and the details are delivered in a way that keeps you enthralled from start to finish.

I highly recommend reading this gripping story of one who comes in harm’s way.

Kathleen Zichi

Reston, Virginia - Barnes & Noble Review, The Edge of Malice

I loved the tone of this book. I’m a true crime junkie, and the writing style of this author is unique – it’s not too heavy or dense. Miraldi took me on a journey through the events, but doesn’t get hung up on inconsequential details. It reads like a fiction book, but is a touching true story. The story itself is incredible and gives a fresh look at how the criminal and civil justice systems can intertwine. And who can resist a charged story that finds some redemption in the midst of imperfection? Love it.

Apple Review, The Edge of Malice

Marie Grossman was a remarkable woman–a lawyer and health care executive who faced the biggest challenge of her life. A criminal act took over her thoughts and dreams and hopes. Everyone warned her against the tactics and strategies she wanted to take to overcome the beast that haunted her.

Author David Miraldi, an attorney, takes us deep inside a criminal case that he viewed from afar and a civil case that he played a part in. We see witnesses and victims intimately: their fears, their anger, their courage, and their compassion. Miraldi has a sharp eye for the telling detail. He unfolds the story gradually, like a mystery, with lots of cliffhangers to pull us along.

All of the detail is based on deep research and dozens of interviews. We get to experience the tension and the drama that is part of the legal process. The memorable characters include a meticulous record-keeping bureaucrat, a quick-thinking police detective, two observant parolees, an ex-Marine with a big heart, an exuberant and observant law student, and the judges whose life experiences inform their legal judgments.

I especially liked the attention to the power of particular words and phrases to trigger responses that change the trajectory of an interaction, a legal proceeding, a family meeting, a career, a person’s life. Your words are your destiny. I read the book in one sitting. Each surprise made me want to see what the next one would be. A case is never closed. The lives of those involved must go on.

James Breiner

Assistant Professor of Communication, Universidad de Navarra, The Edge of Malice

Could Not Put It Down
Very well written and fun to read. This book has it all if you enjoy reading stories that involve the legal system, human nature, the power of the human spirit, and ultimately redemption.

Amazon Review, The Edge of Malice

Excellent book. Must Have For The Summer
This is such a wonderful book and the author tells the story in such an easy manner that keeps the reader drawn in and never wanting to put the book down. The main character is so inspirational and although there was a horrible crime done to her the ability to forgive was a major take away and soul searching for myself
Michelle B.

Amazon Review, The Edge of Malice

Powerful Story
This is a powerful, moving story about the shooting and attempted robbery of Marie Grossman. It details the devastating injuries she suffered and the courage and determination she showed as she moved on with her life. The author also provided information on her assailant and the effect on his life. Well worth reading!!!

Amazon Review, The Edge of Malice

Excellent Read
I really enjoyed reading this book- well written and fascinating. Marie Grossman is a remarkable human being. An incredibly moving story of the power of forgiveness.

Amazon Review, The Edge of Malice

Powerful Ending
This is a compelling, true life story of one woman’s journey of recovery, rage, reconciliation and forgiveness. If it were a novel, the ending might seem contrived. As a true story, it’s a great life lesson for all of us.
John F.

Amazon Review, The Edge of Malice

This is a legal drama based on a trial that took place in early 60s America: when Casper Bennett was accused of murdering his wife by drowning her in a bath full of scalding water, Miraldi’s own father represented him in court. Miraldi has pieced together the story from an archive of documents bequeathed to him by his father, and he creates a convincing and tense drama out of that material. The characterisation is very strong, and he manages to make some fairly complex and detailed legal material accessible and interesting. It becomes something of a page turner, and builds to a gripping climax. There is much to think about here, beyond the immediate interest of the trial. The judges have debated its status as fiction or non-fiction, a dilemma considered by the author himself. He concludes that because he is not quoting directly from most of the characters it must be fiction. We disagree and feel that even with non-fiction there is room for imagination. The facts presented at the end of the book pull such a punch that they have to be considered as part of the book itself.

​There is a force of intellect behind it too, which is appealing – it offers an insight into the jury system, and reveals how much of it depends on presentation, persuasion, and spin, regardless of how the legal world strives to privilege objectivity and fact. Miraldi, who is himself an attorney, tells it with an insider’s understanding of that world, and he seems to be a natural storyteller. It also gives an appealing view of America at a certain point in history: the sense of community; the significant contribution of immigration; the inevitable demise of that world when confronted with technology, a loss of innocence and cynicism. It’s a very impressive book.

Rubery Award Judges

The Edge of Innocence

A debut historical novel re-creates a sensational 1964 murder trial in Lorain, Ohio. . . . . [T]his is an engrossing tale. . . . . A chilling view of the vagaries of the justice system, with a final surprise.
Kirkus Reviews

The Edge of Innocence

David Miradl’s hybrid of historical fiction and true crime recounts a sensational trial in which his father played a leading role.. . . [The book] is a work of compelling immediacy. Miraldi avoids the melodramatic, judgmental prose that can pervade lesser true crime works. Instead, he relies on careful pacing and his deep research into the case to win readers’ interest. Without manufactured thrills, Miraldi crafts an engaging and suspenseful narrative.The Edge of Innocence is both a gripping courtroom drama and a glimpse at a time past. It should appeal to fans of cerebral, up-market crime writing.
BlueInk Review

The Edge of Innocence

Kept me reading right through the day and evening. Very down to earth characters, who were definitely taken from living people. I love legal books and read many. The ending was a surprise to me. Definitely recommend this one.
Peggy Reader

Amazon Customer Review, The Edge of Innocence

I love to read an author who hits is out of the park with the first book and makes you look forward to their next. From the first pages, I was impressed with this author’s use of descriptive language and imagery, as well as his ability to keep this crime story/ legal thriller interesting and suspenseful.
Marie T.

Amazon Customer Review, The Edge of Innocence

What a treat to read this great book from David Miraldi!! It’s a real-life crime drama, written in a style that is compelling and thrilling to the very end. From the opening paragraph to the final pages, I found it hard to put this book down, and even then, to put it out of my mind between reads. Can’t wait for David’s next book … My guess is it’s sure to be another winner.
Mara Donohue

Amazon Customer Review, The Edge of Innocence

Once you start reading David P. Miraldi’s The Edge of Innocence: The Trial of Casper Bennett, you can’t stop! Inspired by true events, the author’s tale of his father’s role in the Casper Bennett murder trial is replete with legal drama and questions of moral character. It’s a perfect novel for a wintry evening.
Deborah Slavik

Amazon Customer Review, The Edge of Innocence

This is a riveting true story that is well written and engages you from the first page to the last. The story involves a series of twists and turns and paints an authentic picture of a murder trial in a steel town in Ohio in the early 60’s. I would recommend it highly as the reader will not be able to put it down.
Martha Piper

Amazon Customer Review, The Edge of Innocence

“The Edge of Innocence” kept me on the edge of my seat! A true trial brought masterfully back to life decades later. I was transported to a courthouse of yesteryear and much like “To Kill a Mockingbird,” I was left in awe. Highly recommended read.
“Stark Rocker”

Amazon Customer Review, The Edge of Innocence

Lively dialogue and character development make this a fast-paced read. The author maintains the suspense by gradually revealing the “facts” in this real-life murder trial while casting an interesting light on the workings of the US justice system. Of equal interest are his observations of a bygone generation, lawyers and law enforcement officers born in America to immigrant parents and passionate about their work. Many went straight from high school to service in World War II and then worked in the steel mill to afford an education, earning professional status by dint of hard work and relentless pursuit of their goals. I will be first in line to buy Miraldi’s next book.
Amazon Customer Review

The Edge of Innocence

The Edge of Innocence is a remarkable achievement. It holds the reader’s attention from the first page to the last-and stages a surprise twist at the end. An explanation of the law is intertwined in the story, but in a way that informs but does not dominate the narrative. The book is also a testament to filial love and pride.
Stephen Vogel

Cincinnati, OH, The Edge of Innocence

If you love mysteries, courtroom dramas and police investigations, this is The book for you. Not only is it a true case, but the author brought back the protagonists to life with vivid descriptions and dialogues. And it is so interesting to see how the criminal justice system operated in the 60’s. It is an extra pleasure for Ohioans who would recognize the landmarks and names.
Mayya Traboulsi

Cleveland, OH, The Edge of Innocence

I know I’m reading a great book when I can’t wait to get back to it. This is one of those – an absolute page-turner!
Chip Freeman

Granville, OH, The Edge of Innocence

If you like a well written legal thriller, this is the book for you. It is honest with a behind the scenes look into the thinking of the criminal legal process. You feel the lawyer’s pressure of a man’s life on the line. You feel the pressure the prosecutor brings when he believes a man needs to be brought to justice. You learn about how and why key pieces of information are never shared with the judge/jury. The twist at the end…left me thinking! I simply loved it!
Nancy Terrill

The Edge of Innocence

A fabulous book that just couldn’t be put down. Most interesting that this trial was held so quickly after the murder; in today’s world it may have been a year or so before a trial would have been scheduled. Especially intriguing for those of us from Lorain, Oh and having known most of the places and people involved. David, I hope you are soon working on your next book.
Marsha Doane Funk

The Edge of Innocence

The book is well written and is based on actual documentation and court records. It includes interesting dialogue that the author has added to make the story more realistic and personal. I enjoyed the courtroom exchanges and the drama that resulted from the story line and sequence of events while trying to see through the alibis of Casper Bennett. The buildup at the end provides a great ending for a mystery novel.
Larry Bowersox

Avon, OH, The Edge of Innocence

This is a very enjoyable and informative book. I love the concept that the author told the story of his father’s unusual criminal trial. You can feel the love and respect for his father come up from the pages. I also found this as a very compelling story in the mold of Patterson or Connely. as a former Ohioan, I thought he did a great job of invoking the sights and sounds of my former (and still, I guess) home. Great read. Thanks.
Robert Gilker

Virginia, The Edge of Innocence

If you enjoy reading novels about courtroom drama in the criminal arena, this book is a must read! David Miraldi, a prominent civil trial attorney in Lorain County, Ohio, has done an exceptional job researching a murder trial that took place in the City of Lorain in the mid 1960’s. The author’s father, Ray Miraldi, and his co-counsel, Lon Adams, represented Casper Bennett, a tavern owner accused of murdering his wife in their house by drowning her in a bathtub filled with scalding water.

The book is a fast read, peppered with adultery, evidence by ambush, and unusual expert medical testimony.

I highly recommend this book, whether you are a member of the legal community, or a lay person.

Michael D. Tully

Lorain, OH, The Edge of Innocence

This courtroom drama bristles with all the intensity of a tennis match as the two sides in a murder trial fight to score points and win each game, set, and, ultimately, the match. David Miraldi’s historical novel, based on a case in which his father defended an adulterous tavern owner accused of drowning his alcoholic wife in a bathtub, pulls the reader in immediately with its realistic dialogue and fully drawn characters. The reader is carried back to a cultural moment in the early 1960s when Middle America was an ideological battleground pitting the forces of law and order against a society whose institutions’ moral authority seemed to be crumbling. Defense attorney Ray Miraldi emerges as an aggressive defender of truth and justice who is not above playing outside the lines if it helps him win a case. David Miraldi draws on all his courtroom experience to make the fine points of criminal law add to the drama and drive the story along. The narrative tension never lets up, and the denouement holds many surprises for the reader.
James Breiner

Pamplona, Spain, The Edge of Innocence

As a fellow attorney I found this book to accurately portray the tension drama and anxiety of the courtroom. The outcome remained uncertain and there was a genuine twist at the end. I knew Ray Miraldi growing up and his son portrayed him as the fine man and highly regarded trial attorney that he was. I was initially captivated by the book because I knew the participants but as I read on it was the story that held my attention. A job well done. I hope the author writes another book . Perhaps the Gotsis case referenced in this book could be his next challenge.
Robert Gary

Formerly from Lorain, OH, The Edge of Innocence

Wow . . . my mother bought this book and then told me that I absolutely needed to read it. She made me promise that I wouldn’t look at the end first (even though I never do!) because she said I needed to fully appreciate the surprise when it happened. And, she was right. This book is incredibly well written with a smooth, even pace. The personalities of key people in the book are fully fleshed out and aspects of law are explained clearly in a conversational tone. And, yes. I was surprised at the end — twice. I recommend this book wholeheartedly. The only other comment I’d make is that, early on, the author calls this historical fiction when in fact he takes a creative writing approach to fill in information that couldn’t be found through research. It is much further along on the nonfiction side of the writing spectrum than the term “historical novel” would suggest.
Kelly Sagert

Lorain, OH, The Edge of Innocence

Enjoyable read about the case of Casper Bennett, accused of drowning his wife in 1963. The author’s father was part of the defense team. His notes, along with police files and first person interviews combine for a fascinating read. The emotional highs and lows of the trial along with the back and forth between the legal teams provide a real peak into the workings of a trial. Taking place before Miranda, the legal system of the period is much different than it is now. Great read!
Jay Ferguson

Lorain, OH, The Edge of Innocence

Have just finished this absorbing, interesting, entertaining composition. As an individual who grew up in the city of Lorain, I was familiar with the majority of the individuals and landmarks noted. And was astounded by the writer’s ability to chronicle the events of the trial in layman’s terms.

Once reading commenced, I was intrigued by the plot as it was presented – from beginning through to the final chapter.

The result – which I was familiar with still is amazing but, prospective readers will have to process themselves through the intrigue of the characters, the “touch points” and one’s own views.

Which is part of the interest the author has created. A MUST READ by anyone!

Jerry Amato

Avon Lake, OH, The Edge of Innocence

Edge of Innocence”, David Miraldi’s debut novel, is as compelling as it is entertaining. He transports the reader back to the adolescent years of the baby boomer era. His setting: Lorain County, Ohio. A place from which he speaks intimately and authoritatively, because it is his home.

Miraldi orchestrates the forces of history, forensic mystery, and courtroom drama with the confidence of a man who knows deeply from where he speaks. He exposes how commonly-flawed individuals, ambitious, subject to prejudice and simple fatigue, interactively process these forces to create a real-life human drama. Drama to which Miraldi’s many future readers will relate.

What the novels of Turow and Grisham demonstrate in clever contrivance, Miraldi delivers thru ironic authenticity. Thoroughly enjoyable: Five Stars!

Michael Hillman

Minneapolis, MN, The Edge of Innocence

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