Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sebastian Rudd is not your typical lawyer per se -- he works out of his car or home, has (and needs) a bodyguard, and spends much of his time trying to bend the law as much as he can. Sebastian defends those who others will not: mostly criminals our society immediately condemns as guilty. He believes all are entitled to a fair trial and as a result, he finds himself hated by the police, other lawyers (especially the DA and all associated with the office), and much of his town. In addition, Sebastian struggles as a father, spending limited time with his young son, who is being raised by Sebastian's ex-wife.
This book was an interesting one. I almost didn't pick it up, as I'd read some negative reviews. In that respect, I found the book a pleasant surprise. It certainly surpassed most of the reviews I'd read. Good to start with low expectations perhaps? One of the biggest surprises about this novel is the disdain for the police, and truly, much of the legal system, that comes across via Sebastian. Not always something you see in a Grisham book. It's a theme that's hit over and over (it gets to be a bit much after a while). However, Sebastian has a bit of a right to be disgruntled - the novel weaves together a few different separate stories of his various clients - and several certainly aren't treated fairly by the legal system, or the police.
It's a daring choice to to put Sebastian as a rogue lawyer who works out of his van - your brain can't help but going immediately to Connelly's Mickey Haller (the "Lincoln Lawyer"). In that respect, Sebastian and the book fall short. It's hard to surpass a Connelly character. But Sebastian has his own unique charm and the novel grew on me as it went on. The story picks up considerably and I found myself drawn into the tales and Sebastian's woes. It's not the most uplifting of books- there's no amazing court battle victory here, and not a lot of characters you can root for - but the interconnected stories are intriguing and Sebastian is a complicated character who kept me thinking. I'll be curious if Grisham does a follow-up book on him.
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