Rogue Lawyer, by John Grisham
A Review of Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
Reviewed by Mark Billingsley
I have read several of Grisham's tales of courtroom drama and legal suspense and have, for the most part, found them engaging and well-written. Though they tend to be more on the courtroom drama side of things, rather than action and thriller, they are always intense, instructive, socially relevant and very suspenseful. Rogue Lawyer" is no exception in this regard, it is exceptional in that it is more action-packed and more of a page-turner than some of his more recent work. It is an excellent example of the genre, and of a great fiction writer at the top of his game. It is a difficult book to put down.
"Rogue Lawyer" follows the escapades of "street lawyer" Sebastian Rudd, legal pit-bull and relentless courtroom warrior (it is no coincidence that Rudd's favorite sport is no-holds-barred cage-fighting). There is no terrain he will not cover to get an acquittal; whether legal, illegal or the treacherous ground in between, if it serves to free his client. In contrast to many works in this genre, which usually present a single case and follow its circuitous route from crime to conclusion (with a couple of back-stories to fill in details) "Rogue Lawyer" presents a series of related cases and situations as he develops his characters and the milieu in which they operate. I personally find this a little more realistic and accurate portrayal of what a criminal attorney's actual practice is like.
Rudd literally works the streets in his converted (bulletproof) van which acts as office, transportation and control center for his dealings with defendants and judges, law enforcement and enforcers of a more primitive persuasion. He's got well-stocked bar, Wi-Fi. a fridge, fine leather furniture and a hidden gun department. He rides with his partner, Partner, his bodyguard, law clerk, caddy and friend. Together they work to defend people that lawyers with any sense wouldn't even go near; like the tattooed, not-to-bright, sexual offender and rumored satanic cult member accused of the heinous killing of two children; a murderous and resourceful crime lord awaiting his final justice on death-row; an innocent, retired veteran who fires on an over-zealous SWAT team during a botched police raid on his home and shoots one of the invaders. Sebastian Rudd is not a particularly likable or admirable character, he's a part-time dad with no real parenting skills, an attorney with very few scruples or ethics, and a scrapper who love a good and dirty fight. He hates injustice and doesn't care much for corporations, banks or insurance companies either. He thinks the legal system and their idea of decent behavior is ludicrous. He believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial, regardless of their background or social standing, and if he has to break a few laws to make it happen, well, it just evens the odd of having to deal with an inherently corrupt "justice" system. If you're looking for an entertaining and taut page-turner, intelligently written by one of the original literary social justice warriors, then you'll love this book.