Protect The Guilty

“Zaragoza takes readers into the mind of a killer and explores the depth of human nature in unexpected ways. Powerful narrative voice, stellar character development, and a darkness that haunts the human spirit.”

Going from human to ghost, Sam Westmore floats, passes through walls, melds into people, and eavesdrops on real-life conversations. Circumstances conspired to push him to the brink, all perpetrated by people of power, wealth, and privilege, until he killed four people before taking his own life. Sam invisibly observes his crime scene, hoping detectives will clear him of being a mad killer. In his free time, Sam observes people, stops crimes, and does other good deeds. Each night, the same homeless man sleeps nearby him at a historic monument. Is he an ordinary homeless man or someone special?



Reviewed By Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite  

“Protect the Guilty” by Pablo Omar Zaragoza and Susan Giffin is an inspiring story that features a unique protagonist, Sam the Ghost. Sam Westmore has been a murderer in his pre-suicide life and has taken the lives of many people, the last of which is his own. As the story opens, he says: “I’m floating above what used to be me, yet I’m still here.” After committing suicide, he wanders about observing what goes on in the city and narrating the circumstances leading to his multiple murders. Follow him as he narrates his stories and as he selflessly does some good for the people of his city, unseen.

This is an interesting story and I enjoyed the fact that it is told from the perspective of a ghost who enjoys a great sense of freedom. The narrative voice is powerful, clear, and irresistible, and the use of the first person narrative pulls the reader into the world of the protagonist. Character development is stellar and there is a bleakness that permeates the entire narrative, a darkness that haunts the human spirit, and the narrator captures it very beautifully. Each chapter begins with a powerful expression, an image that portrays the emotional and psychological state of the protagonist like “I blur into a small office,” or “I have been drifting.”

The prose is powerful, at times evocative, and readers will enjoy the colorful descriptions and the stream of consciousness that permeate the work. “Protect the Guilty” raises powerful moral questions, features great social commentaries, and takes readers into the mind of a killer, exploring the depth of human nature in ways one could never have expected. Pablo Omar Zaragoza and Susan Giffin have crafted an entertaining and inspiring story that will captivate readers from the beginning till the end.

2019 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards