13 July 2015
Victor Methos: The Neon Lawyer
Victor Methos brings us an interesting insight into the world of a rookie US trial lawyer who has to endure many obstacles in seeking justice for his clients. Methos does this through the eyes of a newly admitted to the bar attorney Brigham Theodore who has to battle the Judge, the district attorneys and even the prison system to protect the rights of a woman at the end of her emotional and legal tether.
Brigham made his way through college on a shoestring by working as a school janitor. After unsuccessfully doing the rounds of all of the large law firms in Salt Lake City he is just about to retire back into his janitor role when he spots a neon sign for a legal firm in a seedy part of town. After so many knockbacks he is stunned to be offered a place in the firm by the Russian emigre owner with mob connections who believes that he will make a good lawyer. The rewards are not high but he has his foot in the door to practice law. This is not as easy as he thinks because the first cases he is handed are as a trial lawyer, one of them a sensitive and headline grabbing capital murder.
Brigham's client is Amanda Pierce, an emotionally exhausted woman whose six year old daughter was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, tortured and murdered. At the height of her emotional despair she has gunned down the man who has been indicted for the murder while he was being escorted from the justice building by police. She can't eat, or sleep and her only hope to keep her life is Brigham, a "rookie" trial lawyer who has little experience of the courts.
I found this to be a very disturbing tale as Brigham ran the gauntlet of the system, especially the Judge and the arrogant District Attorney, to protect and support his client in what seems to be an impossible case. This is not a tale where the attorney delivers miracles because he finds out the truth during the investigation - it is a tale of an inexperienced but basically competent and confident young man who takes on the system because he believes that there must be some form of justice for his client.
I read this as an audiobook and the narrator brought much of the drama of the courtroom to life through his depiction of the characters, especially the Judge, the prosecutor and the emotionally shattered defendant.
Methos has written a very good courtroom drama/legal thriller about a search for justice in a case that seems indefensible. His experience as a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney shines through in this story. I was disappointed that so far Methos doesn't appear to have written any other books featuring Brigham Theodore as there seemed to be a lot of scope to explore and develop his character. I will certainly look out for other books by this author.