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Rogue Lawyer Hardcover – October 20, 2015
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"Terrific…Grisham, can still devise distinctive characters, tricky legal predicaments and rogueishly cheating ways to worm out of them."
--Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
"Sebastian Rudd is a kind of social justice warrior and Grisham uses him to take jabs at the legal system…all with a blunt, rude, gravelly poetic wise guy voice that makes Rudd come across as a kind of 21st-century Philip Marlowe."
--Benjamin Percy, The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
JOHN GRISHAM is the author of twenty-seven novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and five novels for young readers.
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The novel unfortunately often felt like a collection of short stories pasted together, with Rudd as the only figure who maintains a continuous narrative. Rather than focus on one trial throughout the entire book, every thirty to forty pages Rudd will win or lose a particular case and then move on. While this may accurately reflect the life of defense attorneys, it unfortunately does little to flesh out the characters into ones the reader can actively sympathize with or despise. Similarly, despite Rudd's repeated proclamations that he is a rogue lawyer, he actually is a pretty honest one. While he is willing to pay cops for information and occasionally represents bad characters, about the only sanction-worthy act he commits throughout the course of the novel is bribing a court clerk to get a particular judge to hear his civil suit.
Despite these flaws, Grisham clearly displays that he was (and still is) an attorney. He has a good handle on the minutiae of courtroom criminal procedure and paints a portrait of an attorney whose character, while exaggerated, is believable. He also creates an interesting series of cases for the attorney to handle. The ending comes somewhat abruptly, but it is in such a manner that I suspect Mr. Grisham has a sequel possibly in mind. If he eventually does write one, I will be sure to read it.
For me Rogue Lawyer read like a series of short stories loosely merged into one book. The main protagonist (lawyer Sebastian Rudd) is a bit slimy but ultimately his heart is in the right place (for the most part). If even half of what Grisham uses this book to say about the integrity of the U.S. legal system (and the police force) is true then we all have a reason to feel a bit bleak and apprehensive about the modern incarnation of 'justice.'
I wouldn't rank Rogue Lawyer as one of Grisham's best works - but it's still an engaging read. Let me just say that I originally read The Firm in the space of one night, whereas Rogue Lawyer was rationed out over a week or so if that gives you a better indication...
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