If you like Grisham you will love Teller, another great writer who writes what he knows, an ex lawyer himself he gives a wonderful insight to the workings of the legal system in the US.Points of law are argued, some won and some lost. The story builds and you are left wondering to the last as to who is guilty, complicated by the fact that Jaywalker has a thing about the defendants wife. I have now read all three of Tellers Jaywalker series and hope that he continues writing. Great stuff.
This is the first Courtroom Drama I have read and it was an entertaining and quick read.
The central character is Harrison J Walker or Jaywalker as he is universally called by everyone. When the book begins he is a lawyer, two and a half years into a 3 year suspension for misconduct. One day he is tailed by an attractive blonde who then starts a relationship with him and recruits him to represent her estranged husband who is facing a murder trial. A bit improbable but it's one way to grab your attention.
The action is set in Rockland County, New York, where the estranged husband is accused of forcing a bus off the road by drunken driving, causing it to burst into flames. The fire incinerated the driver and 8 passengers all of who happen to be orthodox Jewish junior school children under the age of 11. This, in Rockland County, a nice middle class area of New York state, with lots of orthodox Jews.
Ostensibly the story is about defending the culprit against a charge of 'Depraved indifference to human life'. That charge is a murder charge with potential sentence of 25 years to life. All is not as it seems however. There is an element of the 'whodunnit' in this book but it won't keep you guessing very long. I worked it out pretty quickly. The pleasure of the book is in the detailed analysis of who did and said what and when. I found the legal debate and cross examination interesting and entertaining, always waiting to see how how the facts would be revealed. The local flavour it gives of Rockland County made me smile as I recalled some youthful holidays spent there visiting relatives.
Jaywalker is an entertaining, larger than life character but the Prosecutor is a bit of a stereotype, set up for a fall. The Judge is a no-nonsense woman who jails both Jaywalker and the Prosecutor for contempt during the course of the trial - do they really do that in America? The ending to the book excels its beginning in the improbability stakes but what happened between the start and the end is worth spending a few hours with.
This book should be recomended to all young people to read. Its real life experience and the consequences let you look at life in a different way. Because of this book I became a Joseph Teller fan and so far I have not been disappointed.
The bulk of this book is courtroom drama with some interesting insider insights but the story is very thin and entirely predictable. But the real killer is the denoument which is just ridiculous. PS anyone looking for the depravity in the title should look elsewhere.