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03 November 2015

John Grisham: Rogue Lawyer

Well written but not one of Grisham's best
The first thing that struck me was that Sebastian Rudd had so many similarities to Michael Connelly's Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey Haller. Rudd is a street lawyer who defends the undefendable. He works from a bullet proof van because his office was firebombed and his driver is also a bodyguard.

However, these quotes show that Rudd isn't really a Mickey Haller clone:
"I am a lone gunman, a rogue who fights the system and hates injustice". "I don't kill. I just defend killers." "I  stopped worrying about ethics a long time ago. In my world, my enemies are ruthless. If I make nice, I get crushed."

Rudd's business brings him into contact with a lot of scumbags, and also very rich and influential scumbags. It also brings him into contact with the police and most of them hate him because he helps people they have arrested. Rudd despises all forms of corruption, especially in government, the judicial system, and the police.

The book is more a diary of Rudd's life focusing on different cases he has handled than a story. There is the case of a drug baron who continues to run his business while on death row. Another case evolved from Rudd's keen interest in watching a betting on cage fighting - a mixture of  boxing and martial arts fights in a cage instead of a ring. He is supporting an up and coming fighter and then has to defend him when the fighter goes wild at the end of a fight he has lost on points and kills the referee.

Frequently Grisham writes about issues that trouble him. This time Police  and legal corruption are at the top of his list. The main diary entries involve the kidnapping of the daughter of a senior police officer and a police raid that goes badly wrong. Rudd takes on the police department and the police department takes on Rudd.

As a side issue, Rudd has a continuing fight with his ex-wife over their son which he rarely wins. His wife, also a lawyer, left him for another woman. She is the ultimate bitch and strictly limits Rudd's time with his son Starcher and what they can do during visits.

All in all, I found this to be well written but a choppy book because of the episodic approach. While at first sight Rudd doesn't really seem to be a likable character, I ended up with a certain admiration and wonder if he will return in a later book.

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