His office is an SUV, but he ain’t no Lincoln Lawyer.
Mystery readers will get the reference to Michael Connelly’s excellent Lincoln Lawyer series featuring rogue lawyer Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey in the movie.)
Taking a page from Connelly, John Grisham introduces his own rogue lawyer, Sebastian Rudd, complete with a tricked-out van and bodyguard-cum-driver.
As the novel opens, Rudd defends a young man accused of murdering two girls. At the conclusion of that trial, which is its own self contained story, Rudd goes on to defend a drug lord on death row and takes on a botched home invasion case. The clients, venues, and crimes don’t appear to be related.
About a third of the way into the novel, Grisham connects the dots. But it is a bit forced–as if he decided to turn a short story collection into a novel, but didn’t bother with rewrites.
Grisham, typically the master of the breathless page turner, also spends more time than necessary on his soapbox. His diatribes include police brutality, crooked judges, and cheating prosecutors.
Grisham didn’t publish thirty-four best sellers by being a lousy writer, so Rogue Lawyer is certainly readable, but not Grisham’s best.
Rudd, an idealist under the tough swagger and questionable ethics, is an intriguing character so I hope Grisham will bring him back in more cohesive novel.