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The Color of Law: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – August 29, 2006


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (August 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307275000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307275004
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A. Scott Fenney, the hotshot young Dallas attorney of Gimenez's debut, has a beautiful house, an idle, social-climbing wife and a spoiled daughter; his most lucrative client is local magnate Tom Dibrell, whom he regularly rescues from sexual harassment suits. When Clark McCall, the no-account son of Texas' senior senator (and presidential hopeful), is murdered, Fenney is forced by his firm to pro bono the suspect, heroin-addicted prostitute Shawanda Jones. Jones claims innocence, and refuses to plead out to avoid the death penalty--giving Fenney fits." With Jones's life on the line, Fenney agonizes about whether he can do the trial, losing wife, job, and country club membership as he slowly uncovers the truth about McCall. Along the way, Fenney takes custody of Jones's precocious daughter, Pajamae, in a cross-cultural subplot with more cliché than life-lesson. A former Dallas attorney, Gimenez offers an entertaining window onto the city's legal world, but he telegraphs most of the story, and his attempts at negotiating Dallas's race and class conflicts fall flat; whether platitudinous or wise-cracking, the minor characters unintentionally reinforce the stereotypes the book works so hard to combat.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Did someone pass John Grisham's Law when we weren't looking: Only survivors of law firms can write legal thrillers. Gimenez, former partner at a major Dallas law firm and current lone-wolf attorney in a single practice, not only boasts all the right credentials but also delivers an authentically creepy debut novel. A big part of this thriller's appeal is its moral backbone. The hero, former college-football legend and current corporate lawyer Scott Fenney, has struck a Faustian bargain--his whole life for billable hours--the cost of which is encapsulated when he signs an agreement to terminate the tenure of a friend in the firm who has lost his worth by losing a big client. Fenney's own fate turns when he makes a speech praising Atticus Finch, and a federal judge takes him at his word, ordering him to defend a black prostitute accused of murdering the ne'er-do-well son of a Texas senator and presidential candidate. The judge's whim is bad for the firm, bad for the senator, and bad for Scott, whose fortunes start to take a dive. This is a well-calibrated contemporary morality play, set in get-rich-quick Dallas, with tours of country clubs and gated communities, and knowledgeable forays into Darwinian legal tactics. Gimenez also gives us a hateful character who becomes more sympathetic the more he fails. Fast-paced and thought-provoking fare. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Great book, very well written.
HARRIET
The book finally tells it like it is - what lawyers are REALLY like - it takes one to know one.
Heidi Baty
This is fast moving page turner that was an enjoyable read.
Michael L. Slavin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Mark Gimenez' first novel is a winner on every count. A truly fast-paced legal thriller with a believable plot and characters who almost breathe.

A. Scott Fenney has it all. A fast-rising partner in a top Dallas law firm with a client who pays $3 million a year for Scott's advice; a beautiful if somewhat empty-headed wife; a mansion in an exclusive suburb; a Ferrari, Mercedes and Range-Rover; memberships in all the right clubs and a nine year old daughter who is so perceptive that she becomes one of the few elements in the story that doesn't ring true. But no matter, because Gimenez is so skilled that the reader simply doesn't care.

Fenney attracts the interest of a federal judge when he gives a speech as part of his campaign for the presidency of a bar association. The judge is so impressed by Fenney's impassioned plea for lawyers to do good that he assigns Scott as pro bono counsel in a murder case. Not just any murder case, of course, but one involving a black, heroin addicted prostitute accused of murdering Senator Mack McCall's son. It doesn't help that McCall is about to become a Presidential candidate.

Fenney doesn't want the appointment, but the judge puts him in an untenable position. Refuse the appointment and Scott will be unveiled as a hypocrite, a lawyer who doesn't really care about doing good, but does care about proper appearances and, above all, money. Lots of money. Take the appointment and Scott's law firm --- which just happens to be headed by Sen. McCall's former personal attorney and potential White House lawyer --- may be embarassed.

Gimenez's plotting is flawless.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By John R. Linnell on November 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is so much fun to discover a new author who shows such promise that you expect he will be writing entertaining novels for some time to come. Mark Gimenez looks as though he may fit that bill. Wisely, Giminez has chosen to write about something he knows about; i.e. the practice of law from the perspective of a member of a large Dallas law firm. A. Scott Fenney is our boy and he has ridden his reputation as a star running back at SMU and his intelligence and ambition to a partnership in one of Dalla's most successful law firms, Ford Stevens arriveing at this apex in just eleven years since joining the firm. He has a Ferrari, a 3 million dollar plus home in Highland Park, memberships in prestigious clubs in the area and a georgeous wife who is as ambitious as he is and whose main goal in life is to be chair of the Cattle Baron's Ball. His main client is a ruthless real estate developer named Tom Dibrell who is good for 3 million dollars in billings a year. A. Scott knows all the tricks of the trade on keeping Dibrill happy and the money flowing in.

As the story opens, A. Scott is giving a speech to members of the Texas Bar Association in which he reminds them that everyone thinks lawyer's jokes are hilarious and challenges them to ask themselves if they as lawyers are really doing good, or are they just doing well? Are they noble guardians of the law or just greedy parasites? Are they making the world better or just themselves richer? He then thunders into a litany of how lawyers are making the world better and are fighting for justice and that hif he is elected President of the Texas Bar that he will remind people that society is better because of lawyers and that he will tell people that "he is proud - damn proud, to be a lawyer...because lawyers - do - good!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The protagonist of "The Color of Law" is Dallas lawyer A. Scott Finney. Scott is a lucky man. He is an acclaimed former jock, a partner in a prestigious firm, the proud owner of a luxurious home and car, and the husband of a gorgeous woman. He defends mostly well-to-do clients, practicing what he calls "aggressive and creative lawyering," which is code for cheating, conniving, and doing whatever it takes to win a case.

When Scott is appointed by a federal judge to represent a black prostitute named Shawanda Jones, he is horrified. Jones is accused of murdering Clark McCall, the spoiled rich son of an influential United States senator. After trying in vain to extricate himself from Shawanda's case, Scott slowly realizes that fate has brought him to a crossroads. Helping Shawanda Jones may give Scott the chance to be the kind of lawyer his mother always wanted him to be--one who is anxious to do good, not just to do well.

In "The Color of Law," Mark Gimenez presents a complex plot featuring a tragic miscarriage of justice, political corruption, family conflict, greed, and the abuse of power. The author also explores the possibility that an arrogant, self-centered, and shallow individual can seek redemption. Gimenez skillfully orchestrates Scot's fall from grace and his gradual reawakening to the value of a principle-driven life. The best scenes in the book show the warm relationship between Scott and the two girls he cares for most--his eight-year-old daughter, nicknamed Boo, and Pajamae, Shawanda's daughter. Scott's decision to fight for Shawanda earns him Pajamae's respect, affection, and gratitude.

"The Color of Law" is not perfect. It is at least fifty pages too long and the conclusion, although satisfying, veers dangerously close to sentimentality.
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