Friday, March 25, 2016

Rogue Lawyer, by John Grisham

I have read almost everything Grisham has written, and I have to say I have enjoyed every book.  Rogue Lawyer is no exception.  Sebastian Rudd is a creep, and tends toward the dirty side of the law, but Grisham makes him likable and gives him street integrity that I could cheer for.  He picks up cases no other lawyer wants, loves to get publicity, and doesn't mind defending despicable criminals.

Rogue Lawyer is less a complete novel than a snapshot of a few weeks in a rogue lawyer's life.  The book covers several cases, some of which end up being loosely related.  We see the courtroom drama and the back street deals that characterize Rudd's practice.  We meet his awful ex-wife and their remarkably sweet son.  We hear the ethical conundrums he gets himself into.  We feel the punches of the cage fighter he sponsors and ends up defending.

I'm not a lawyer, so I can't judge by personal experience, but this novel feels more real and gritty than many of his other ones.  The flip side of that is that it also feels more pedestrian.  It lacks a single thread of a story to keep me on the edge of my seat.  Furthermore, I felt like he left some loose ends unresolved.  Nevertheless, I kept reading, and enjoyed it.  I was just surprised.  I don't recall another Grisham novel that reads like this, a case book or short story collection.  Grisham is a talented enough writer to make it work, but I didn't like it as much as his other novels.

2016 Reading Challenge: A book on the current New York Times list of bestsellers

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