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July 14, 2008 / C.T. Henry

Move Over Grisham!

Since 2000, there have been a number of excellent legal thrillers to rival the likes of John Grisham and Scott Turow.  If you love reading about legal cases and courtroom dramas, I highly recommend all of these thrillers.

Open and Shut – David Rosenfelt – 2002
Book Description:
Corrupt politics and big money collide when a young New Jersey defense attorney takes on a death row appeal in this exciting debut thriller.Defense attorney Andy Carpenter manages to sail through any tough situation, whether inside the courtroom or in his personal life. But this all changes when his marriage breaks up and his father suddenly dies, leaving him distraughtand 22 million dollars richer. Andy doesnt know how his father accumulated this fortune or why his father begged him to take on the appeal of a death row prisoner. With the help of his newfound love, P.I. Laurie Collins, and the support of his golden retriever companion, Tara, he discovers a link between three of the most prominent men in New Jersey, including a senator, and his new client, Willie Miller. Willie was framed, theres no question about it, and Andy soon learns how far powerful men will go to protect their secrets.

Fatal Flaw – William Lashner – 2003
Book Description:
Ethically adventurous Philadelphia lawyer Victor Carl usually does the right thing, but often for the wrong reasons. When old law school classmate Guy Forrest is accused of murdering his beautiful lover, Hailey Prouix, in their Main Line love nest, Carl agrees to represent him — while keeping silent about his own prior romantic involvement with the victim, and his present determination to see that his client is punished for the brutal crime. But once Carl sets the machinery of retribution in motion, it may be impossible to stop it, even after his certainty begins to crack. Now Victor Carl must race across the country to uncover shocking truths: Who, really, was Hailey Prouix? And why is a killer still waiting in her shadow?

Solomon vs. Lord – Paul Levine – 2005
Book Description:
Steve Solomon is the sharpest lawyer ever to barely graduate from Key West School of Law. Victoria Lord is fresh from Yale, toiling for an ambitious D.A. and soon to be married. And Katrina Barksdale is a sexy former figure skater charged with killing her incredibly wealthy, incredibly kinky husband. With all three tangled in the steamiest trial of the century, the case is sure to make sparks fly, headlines scream—and opposites attract. But with Solomon inventing his own laws and Lord sticking to the real ones, these two can’t stop squabbling, even after teaming up to defend the glamorous widow. With crooks, con men, and a cast of colorful characters swirling around Solomon, and an anxious fiancé waiting for Lord, the two attorneys begin to believe their luscious client has been lying through her perfect teeth. Now Solomon and Lord must solve the case before they end up in ruin, in jail…or in bed.

The Lincoln Lawyer – Michael Connelly – 2005
Book Description:
Criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller’s father was a legendary lawyer whose clients included gangster Mickey Cohen. But Dad also passed on an important piece of advice that’s especially relevant when Mickey takes the case of a wealthy Los Angeles realtor accused of attempted murder: “The scariest client a lawyer will ever have is an innocent client. Because if you [screw] up and he goes to prison, it’ll scar you for life.” Louis Roulet, Mickey’s “franchise client” (so-called becaue he’s able and willing to pay whatever his defense costs) seems to be the one his father warned him against, as well as being a few rungs higher on the socio-economic ladder than the drug dealers, homeboys, and motorcycle thugs who comprise Mickey’s regular case load. But as the holes in Roulet’s story tear Mickey’s theory of the case to shreds, his thoughts turn more to Jesus Menendez, a former client convicted of a similar crime who’s now languishing in San Quentin. Connelly tellingly delineates the code of legal ethics Mickey lives by: “It didn’t matter…whether the defendant ‘did it’ or not. What mattered was the evidence against him–the proof–and if and how it could be neutralized. My job was to bury the proof, to color the proof a shade of gray. Gray was the color of reasonable doubt.” But by the time his client goes to trial, Mickey’s feeling a few very reasonable doubts of his own.

Missing Witness – Gordon Campbell – 2007
Book Description:

Phoenix, Arizona, 1973. A beautiful woman, armed with a gun and accompanied by her twelve-year-old daughter, enters a house. Shots are fired. The woman and her daughter leave the house. Inside, her husband lies dead. The case seems open and shut. The cops, the attorney general’s office, and the media are certain the woman is guilty. The only witness to the shooting is in a catatonic state and cannot testify. But the murdered man’s wealthy father believes he owes the woman something and hires Dan Morgan, the best lawyer in Phoenix, to defend her. When the legendary criminal attorney takes on a case it’s to win, no matter what the odds. But for Morgan and his young protégé, Doug McKenzie, there are no easy answers, only mysteries, and the question of innocence and guilt take on profound new meaning.

Down River – John Hart – 2007
Book Description:
Adam hase has a violent streak, and not without reason. As a boy, he saw things that no child should see, suffered wounds that cut to the core and scarred thin. The trauma left him passionate and misunderstood—a fighter. After being narrowly acquitted of a murder charge, Adam is hounded out of the only home he’s ever known, exiled for a sin he did not commit. For five long years he disappears, fades into the faceless gray of New York City. Now he’s back and nobody knows why, not his family or the cops, not the enemies he left behind. But Adam has his reasons. Within hours of his return, he is beaten and accosted, confronted by his family and the women he still holds dear. No one knows what to make of Adam’s return, but when bodies start turning up, the small town rises against him and Adam again finds himself embroiled in the fight of his life, not just to prove his own innocence, but to reclaim the only life he’s ever wanted.

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