Posted in Book Review

Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

lincolnlawyerSYNOPSIS

Mickey Haller has spent all his professional life afraid that he wouldn’t recognize innocence if it stood right in front of him. But what he should have been on the watch for was evil.

Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense attorney who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, traveling between the far-flung courthouses of Los Angeles to defend clients of every kind. Bikers, con artists, drunk drivers, drug dealers – they’re all on Mickey Haller’s client list. For him, the law is rarely about guilt or innocence – it’s about negotiation and manipulation. Sometimes it’s even about justice.

A Beverly Hills playboy arrested for attacking a woman he picked up in a bar chooses Haller to defend him, and Mickey has his first high-paying client in years. It is a defense attorney’s dream, what they call a franchise case. And as the evidence stacks up, Haller comes to believe this may be the easiest case of his career.

Then someone close to him is murdered and Haller discovers that his search for innocence has brought him face-to-face with evil as pure as a flame. To escape without being burned, he must deploy every tactic, feint, and instinct in his arsenal – this time to save his own life.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I loved the novel. It has a splendid display of criminal defense system. Being a law student myself, the story seemed real. Many a times legal thrillers don’t stick to the small technicalities, which ultimately destroys its legitimacy. This book was different.

The character of Mickey Haller is best example of my earlier statement. He has flaws. He is cynical and manipulative whose ethics are questionable but his grasp on law is strong. He is complicated, someone who has made mistakes, grave ones, but he keeps going on. Connelly did not aim for a perfect, smooth lawyer like we see on TV shows, which makes it real. Legitimate.

Other characters, Haller’s ex-wife, a successful prosecutor, his assistant (who is also his ex-wife) and private detective are well-developed. As for the defendant, all I can say is you won’t forget him.

The best part was the story line. I couldn’t keep it down once I started reading. I could not see the end coming. Connelly did not rush the trial. He showed the steps, he showed how much time a court case takes. He did not skimp on details. It is another example of its legitimacy.

I will give it a 4. To be honest there is no downside, but this is the first book in the series and bar is set so high. I will be reading the next ones and I hope it will out do this, so saving a 5 for it.

 

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Posted in Book Review

Defending Jacob by William Landay

defending jacobSYNOPSIS

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney for two decades. He is respected, admired in the courtroom, happy at home with the loves of his life: his wife, Laurie, and their teenage son, Jacob.

Then Andy’s quiet suburb is stunned by a shocking crime: a young boy stabbed to death in a leafy park. And an even greater shock: The accused is Andy’s own son—shy, awkward, mysterious Jacob.

Andy believes in Jacob’s innocence. Any parent would. But the pressure mounts. Damning evidence. Doubt. A faltering marriage. The neighbors’ contempt. A murder trial that threatens to obliterate Andy’s family.

It is the ultimate test for any parent: How far would you go to protect your child? It is a test of devotion. A test of how well a parent can know a child. For Andy Barber, a man with an iron will and a dark secret, it is a test of guilt and innocence in the deepest sense.

How far would you go?

WHAT I THOUGHT

This book is so much more than a crime/thriller. It is from the point of view of Andy Barber. The narrative is mixed. It goes parallel to Andy’s dialogue in the witness box and the murder of Ben Rifkin. The story is beautifully fused with his testimony.

In his state, an adolescent accused of murder is tried as an adult. Jacob is 14, allegedly killed his classmate Ben Rifkin. There is enough evidence to prove his guilt. But Andy, whose faith in his son does not falter, relentlessly pursues other leads. He is himself an Assistant DA; he knows how the system works. Thus, he does everything in his power to save his son.

What I loved is the emotional and psychological effects of a trial. The book demonstrates how a family suffers from a trial, how it destroys the peace and joy of a family. It doesn’t matter what the court’s verdict is, the jury of your peers already has theirs. It is family drama, a love story and something which stays with you forever. It tests the limits of parent’s belief of their child.

The author builds anticipation and the climax delivers! I can’t say anymore without spoilers. I’m going to end this short review with a 4/5 star rating.

 

Posted in Book Review, Uncategorized

Palace Of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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SYNOPSIS
The Palace of Illusions is the retelling of the great Indian epic, Mahabharata. The entire book is from point of view of Draupadi or Panchaali, the wife of the Pandavas. The story takes us to a world that includes half-history, half-myth and full magic.
The story reflects Draupadi’s life, like born from Agni or fire of yagna, friendless childhood, where her brother is her only true friend; her complex friendship with the mysterious Krishna; to marriage, maternity and her secret attraction to the undisclosed man who is her husbands’ most dangerous opponent.
WHAT I THOUGHT
Divakaruni has portrayed Draupadi in an enigmatic form. She has enlarged her independence and her fiery personality. Often Draupadi gets victimized in retelling of Mahabharata, but here she was anything but that. She is a strong intelligent woman in a world dominated by men.
The book covers the entire plot of Mahabharata even though it’s only from one point of view. Draupadi is told the events by her brother or her husbands. Dreams and intuition also plays an important role in revealing the whole story. The best part is it did not feel forced. The flow was smooth. Another point is her relationship with Krishna. It is a very misunderstood connection but Divakaruni got it right. The friendship and companionship they shared was accurately displayed.
There are two things why this book is not getting a full rating. The attraction between Draupadi and Karna was over played. I love Karna as a character and there was a dynamic between them. But she loved her husbands. The whole Draupadi-Karna love story was a bit too romanticized. The second reason is underplaying Nakul and Sahadev. Both of them are such strong characters and I would have loved if their relationship with Draupadi was explored more.
It is an amazing book, one of my favourite retellings of Mahabharata. The plot is not changed much. The only creative license the author took was Draupadi’s feelings. The voice given to Draupadi by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is strong and beautiful; it deserves to be heard by all.
Posted in Book Review

A Prisoner Of Birth: Book Review

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SYNOPSIS

If Danny Cartwright had proposed to Beth Wilson the day before, or the day after, he would not have been arrested and charged with murder of his best friend.

And when the four prosecution witnesses are a barrister, a popular actor, an aristocrat and the youngest partner in an established firm’s history, who is going to believe his side of story?

Danny is sentenced to twenty-two years and is sent to Belmarsh prison, the highest jail in the land, from where no inmate has ever escaped.

But everyone has underestimated Danny’s determination to seek revenge and Beth’s relentless quest to win justice…

WHAT I THOUGHT

Sometimes you find a book and just cannot put it down. This book had that effect on me! It is gripping and enthralling. I had read it cover to cover within twenty-four hours! Jeffrey Archer has written amazing novels and this one is great too. It is inspired from Alexander Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo, but set into this era in a shorter timeline.

A celebratory evening turns into a nightmare as Bernie Wilson is murdered right in front best friend, Danny. Matters turn worse because the murder is pinned on Danny by the real culprits. The first part of the books deals with the first trial. Enter Alex Redmayne, a young lawyer who is ready to fight for Danny. But then if the masterminds have great contacts and power, the scale of justice leans towards them. Danny is sentenced to a 22 year jail term.

Now the real story begins. It is has a great mixture of emotions, drama and thrill. An amazing storyteller, Archer does not miss a beat. Very engaging, detailed court scenes. I have not been into an actual court hearing in England, so I appreciated how Archer depicted in details the court drama. The prison scenes are likewise very realistic.

I could say hundreds of things that make the novel gripping but the mystery would be unfolded. I’m going to end it by telling whoever has read this review to go to a bookstore and buy a copy or borrow a copy and read it! You will not regret it.

Posted in Book Review

THE KING OF LIES BY JOHN HART

 

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SYNOPSIS

Work Pickens’ life seem great from far but as you look closer you find flaws. He is a lawyer, is married for ten years, has house and is the son of a rich lawyer Ezra Pickens. However, he hates his profession, his marriage is loveless, estranged from his sister and his father has disappeared.

Then Ezra’s body is found.

Ezra is missing since the day his wife died. No one saw him or heard from him. Now, a year later he is dead. Moreover Work and his sister Jean know a lot more about their mother’s death then they let on. Being the benefactor of Ezra’s vast fortune, Work becomes the prime suspect. A clever police detective is will stop at nothing to see Work behind the bars.

Ugly rumors circulate his small town. As much as Work’s life was overshadowed by his domineering father, Jean’s life was nearly destroyed by him. Desperate for the redemption that has eluded him for so many years and stripped of everything he once valued, he fights to save his sister and clear his name–in this poignant and thrilling anatomy of a murder and its ripple effect within a family and a community.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I genuinely liked the book. It is full of unexpected twists and turns. It is in Work’s narrative. You can see his dilemma about his father’s death. I could feel the emotional turmoil that he goes through. Hart has beautifully displayed human relations. Small words and sentences give an insight in Work’s relationships. The mystery that surrounds Ezra’s death is maintained till the very end. I especially liked how many sub themes were also parts of the novel. Misogyny, greed, self discovery some such themes. I would definitely recommend it to everyone.