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Rogue Lawyer – Book Review

21 August 2016

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham.  I like a good John Grisham book. As a qualified lawyer I would be lying if I said that Grisham hadn’t somewhat influenced my idea of what my career would become (although accepting that UK lawyers come across fewer guns, I was thrilled when one of my first cases involved a disreputable shotgun dealer) but I do recognise them as cracking fiction and mostly escapism.

I have enjoyed a number of his novels over the years, so added Rogue Lawyer to my reading list when going away on holiday. Then, like most things on my Kindle, it dropped down the library list and I forgot it was there amongst numerous samples and other spontaneous purchases (I really wish they could improve the Kindle library system, although I love being able to carry my entire library with me).  I then got back to work and everything got a bit distracting.

It wasn’t until I got a new iPhone and discovered that I could put the Kindle app on it, and got laid low with a bad back, that I was scrolling through the library and noticed this unread.

Rogue Lawyer was a very easy read, short chapters keeping the action pacy, very little description as though it was banged out in a rush, but that was part of the charm, with no padding whatsoever, just pure action and innovation. It centres around Sebastian Rudd, the title “Rogue Lawyer” who walks a fine line battling for his clients against the system, and operates from a bullet proof van with the assistance of his paralegal/partner come bodyguard “Partner”.  Rudd defends the guilty and is everything about being a lawyer that you don’t really want to be (defending cop-killers, child abductees, drug dealing, gangsters and rapists) except…for such a rogue lawyer, Grisham can’t resist focusing on cases where he has a supposedly “rare” innocent client and bends the system to ensure they get true justice. Against this, Grisham portrays a system of incompetent, negligent, corrupt and downright dirty cops, prosecutors and city officials, all hell bent on setting up the innocent to cover their incompetence/corruption.  Whilst a few “good” cops/prosecutors were revealed as fighting the corrupt system in the end this seemed to pander too much to current anti-authority sentiment and devalued the book for me and it got a little tiring.  I would have preferred the book if the “bad” guys had been a little more gray.  It’s also very similar to the notion in The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connolly, which I recall enjoying more, but I don’t think there’s any harm in having more in the same theme.

I hadn’t read anything about Rogue Lawyer before hand, so didn’t know what to expect. It started like a collection of short stories (perhaps novelettes is more accurate) and so with that and the very short chapters (some were only 1-2 pages) it was easy to race through.

(Stop reading now if you don’t want a minor plot spoiler).

Gradually, the stories begin to intertwine and resolve in a satisfactory fashion, but leaving me a little empty.  All in all I think it was a good book, but it didn’t quite feel like Grisham, more like he had a number of half ideas, and through them together.  That said, I raced through the book, but could easily have stopped after a couple of parts before I realised it would come together.

Assessment (I gave this a 3/5 on Goodreads, but think 3.5 is more accurate):

Characters : 6 / 10

Plot: 6 / 10

Action: 8 / 10

Gripping: 8 / 10

General: 6 / 10

Total: 68%




From → Books

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