I’ve read and enjoyed John Grisham’s books for many years. “A time to Kill” is one of my all-time favorite legal thrillers.
His latest, “Rogue Lawyer,” is high on cynicism about lawyers and the entire judicial system. The main character, Sebastian Rudd, is a criminal defense lawyer whose ethics border on criminal (I guess that’s what makes him a “Rogue Lawyer”). He works out of his van (a la “The Lincoln Lawyer”), and his only friend is his driver/bodyguard/paralegal.
The story is told in the first person. The book often feels like a braggadocio telling war stories at a bar. At times the book feels more like a collection of short stories with the same main character rather than a novel.
Rudd lives and works in a fictional, unnamed City and its surrounding towns. It seems to be somewhere in the Midwest.
The death penalty case Rudd is trying at the beginning of the book is resolved rather quickly, and then is never mentioned again. Some of his other cases and clients come and go throughout the rest of the book. One of the main stories involves a Mixed Martial Arts fighter that he finances.
There are few women characters in the book. And those few are bitchy, one-dimensional stereotypes (including the main bitch, his lesbian ex-wife). I guess that’s the reality of Rudd’s world. It would’ve been easy to make one or a few of the more tangential characters female, like a detective or FBI agent, but Grisham didn’t bother.
At the end of the day, the book was entertaining. It would make a good summer read. But, thankfully, it doesn’t remotely resemble the criminal justice system that I know.
Click the image to check it out. (And if you haven't read "A Time to Kill," what are you waiting for?