legal thriller

All posts tagged legal thriller

Anatomy Of A Scandal – Sarah Vaughan

Published February 21, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?

What did I think?:

I’ve lost count of the amount of amazing reviews I’ve seen about Anatomy Of A Scandal from my wonderful fellow bloggers. And guess what? They were all right! This is a fantastic novel that melds contemporary fiction with mystery and a legal thriller in a perfect way. This combined with some hard-hitting issues and intriguing characters produces a novel that is not only incredibly relevant and timely but difficult to tear yourself away from and I must have gobbled it up in less than two days as I found once I started, I definitely didn’t want to stop. This book rightly deserves all the acclaim it is getting and I feel my job now in this review is to get as many of you to read it (who haven’t already done so) as possible so you can all discover the powerhouse that is Sarah Vaughan.

Told from a number of different perspectives this is the story of a wife, Sophie and her husband, James, a politician and close friend of the Prime Minister. They met at Oxford University where they formed a fleeting relationship then re-connect later on in life, marry and have two children. Their relationship has been tested at times but Sophie now fully believes that they have a strong, loving partnership that absolutely nothing can shake. She is wrong. When he is accused of a terrible crime and protests his innocence, their whole world is rocked irrevocably. Of course, Sophie trusts her husband implicitly and stands by him through a horrendous trial situation but as more details of the incident come to light from the woman accusing him, she begins to question everything. We also hear from the brilliant Kate, who is prosecuting James’ case and determined to get a guilty verdict for him, whatever the cost.

This novel jumps across time-lines from the present situation that all parties find themselves in to their past experiences in the world of Oxford University where the rich and privileged seem to get away with anything as long as they have enough money, prestige and connections to make the situation go away. I loved how this was a eye-opening reflection on scandals we have heard about, particularly politically (and across the globe, not necessarily in Britain) in recent years where if you have power, the world is your oyster no matter how badly you might behave.

I was shocked to realise that the exclusive club at Oxford that Sarah Vaughan writes about, where the young men go around, getting horrifically drunk, wrecking restaurants and then settling the bill for the damage at the end of the night IS an actual thing and indeed, some of our illustrious leaders in the country at the moment were part of this club. There’s also the very timely issues of sexual abuse/rape and how this is treated in the courtroom and by a jury i.e. “was she asking for it?” and the real fact that convictions for this crime are so staggeringly awful. There is no doubt that change needs to happen.

This is such a brilliant novel, for all of these above reasons and also because you really feel each character is so beautifully written, you could almost know them inside out. They could be a family member, your best friend, your colleague from work etc. However, even though I felt like I connected intimately with some of these characters, and knew what they might do, particularly Kate and Sophie at points, Sarah Vaughan is not shy of throwing a few spanners in the works and there are some fantastic twists to the tale that you just won’t see coming. I’d love to chat more about this novel in the comments so if you’ve read and loved this please tell me what you loved the most and if you haven’t read it yet, tell me when you’re going to start reading it! You just have to. It’s that good.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

Advertisements

Rogue Lawyer – John Grisham

Published July 17, 2016 by bibliobeth

25643292

What’s it all about?:

‘The best thriller writer alive’ – Ken Follett

I’m not a typical lawyer. I don’t maintain a pretty office filled with mahogany and leather. I don’t belong to a big firm, prestigious or otherwise. I don’t do good works through the bar association. I’m a lone gunman, a rogue who fights bad systems and hates injustice . . .

Sebastian Rudd takes the cases no one else wants to take: the drug-addled punk accused of murdering two little girls; a crime lord on death row; a homeowner who shot at a SWAT team.

Rudd believes that every person accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial – even if he has to cheat to get one. He antagonises people from both sides of the law: his last office was firebombed, either by drug dealers or cops. He doesn’t know or care which.

But things are about to get even more complicated for Sebastian. Arch Swanger is the prime suspect in the abduction and presumed murder of 21-year-old Jiliana Kemp, the daughter of the assistant chief of police. When Swanger asks Sebastian to represent him, he lets Sebastian in on a terrible secret . . . one that will threaten everything Sebastian holds dear.

Gritty, witty, and impossible to put down, Rogue Lawyer is the master of the legal thriller at his very best.

What did I think?:

In my late teens, John Grisham was one of my favourite authors and I used to rave about his books, in particular, A Time To Kill, The Client and The Chamber which were all very entertaining and thrilling reads and probably get my highest recommendation if you’ve never read any Grisham before. Somewhere along the way and for reasons I’m unsure of, I stopped reading him and Rogue Lawyer has been my first Grisham novel for a long while. Did he still have what it took to keep me turning the pages? Short answer – yes he did. I’ve noticed this book has come in for a bit of criticism on GoodReads with a lot of John Grisham fans being sorely disappointed, some disliking the style of the book, others believing it was too similar to another of his novels, The Lincoln Lawyer but personally, I have to disagree.

Our “rogue lawyer,” in the story is Sebastian Rudd, who isn’t part of a big corporation but works as sort of a lone wolf, taking on those cases most other lawyers wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, defending the nastiest, the down-trodden and occasionally, the poorest clients. This is all because Sebastian has a deep hatred for large companies, corrupt police forces and the like and has a steely determination to get justice for his client, especially if he believes they are innocent of the charges against them.

What made this book slightly different from all the other legal thrillers Grisham writes in my eyes was that it read almost like a book of short stories. We don’t just see the one case pursued and dissected throughout the novel, but a number of different cases with very different clients which I personally really enjoyed. I felt it was made slightly more realistic by the fact that no, Sebastian does not win every case he takes on and of course, not all of his clients are really innocent. However, I loved reading about his interactions with each one individually and felt I learned more about Sebastian as a character – he is obviously not perfect, has questionable parenting skills and occasionally has to play dirty to get the result he wants but it made him infinitely more plausible as a human being and definitely more fun to read about.

Sebastian’s personal life has also been full with trials and tribulations, his ex-wife left him for another woman and although they have a son together, his wife has full custody and he sees his son very rarely. He knows he has a lot to learn regarding fatherhood and messes up a couple of times (like we all do!) but at the end of the day, wants to be there for his son and do a decent job of bringing him up. Grisham manages to mix with an expert hand the personal aspects of Rudd’s life with the action-packed, occasionally very dangerous job of being a rogue lawyer such as himself and I loved that each separate case Rudd came across had a thrilling element where I was desperate to know what was going to happen next. The door is wide open for a sequel on Sebastian Rudd and I hope John Grisham reads enough of the positive reviews and less of the negative reviews so that he will not be dissuaded from writing a follow up. I certainly would be interested to see what happens to Rudd next and I’m very glad I came “back to Grisham!”

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0