Read of the Week

Rogue Lawyer

John Grisham

Hodder & Stoughton

Review: Brian Joss

It’s not surprising that Sebastian Rudd has to use a bullet-proof van as his mobile office.

The so-called rogue lawyer, who knows his clients are guilty, has angered so many people that his life and that of his bodyguard, Partner, are always in danger – that’s because Rudd takes on cases that other lawyers, not even ambulance chasers, would touch with a barge pole.

And most of the time he wins against all odds. Even though his clients are usually guilty.

Rudd has a vested interest in cage fighting, a brutal form of martial arts; he plays golf; and has a son, Starcher, from his lesbian ex-wife, Julia, who, with her partner have wrapped Starcher in cotton wool and the lawyer’s relationship with her is far from amicable.

At first I thought Rogue Lawyer was a collection of short stories. It opens with Rudd defending Gardy, a brain-damaged tattooed teenager, 18, who is accused of sadistically murdering two girls in a small town, Milo, somewhere in the American southwest.

It won’t be a spoiler to say that Gardy is innocent as it is the weakest link in this gripping legal thriller.

Rudd defends his fighter, Tadeo Zapate after he beats a referee to death in a fit of anger because he believed the result was unfair. Zapate also has gang connections through his brother, although he eschewed them when Rudd became his manager. But after the brutal fight things take a vicious twist.

Rudd’s next target is the police after a death results when a Homeland Security invasion goes wrong.

Another of Rudd’s clients escapes death row in dramatic fashion and a serial killer, Arch Swanger, who is involved in the kidnapping and apparent death of Jiliana Kemp, 21, the police chief’s daughter, asks Rudd to represent him and then tells him he knows where she is.

However, because the rogue lawyer is an ethical man, he cannot tell anyone even though Starcher’s life is in danger.

It is a gripping legal thriller written in the inimitable Grisham way and you can be sure it is not the last appearance of Rudd or Swanger.

Don’t miss it.