Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Sebastian Rudd who in fact is the Rogue Lawyer is a different sort of Rogue Lawyerand a completely different lawyer. He pretty much works as a public defender taking the cases that no other lawyer usually wants. He defends those that he believes are innocent or at least they have had their cases distorted by police and courts that are just looking for someone to take the blame in cases they have a hard time solving.

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The first case involves a young man who fits the bill of a down and out no- account who likely could have done the deed he is accused of. However Rudd, unlike the rest of the little town, really believes that the man is not guilty. To prove it he needs to get the blood of the man he truly believes did the crime. By using a cage-fighter that he backs in fights and bets on, Rudd is able to get the blood sample matched as he needs and also luckily one member of the jury attempts to talk with him when he is at one of the weekly cage fights that he attends. These two events comprise the necessary steps that Rudd needs for a not guilty verdict.

His next case involves a known mobster who not only is in prison but on death row. A really involved group circumstances get this guy out of prison (not legally) and he does show up again later in the telling of Rogue Lawyer.

All the while Rudd is defending clients he is far from living like a money-making attorney. His office and often nightly hangout is a customized bullet-proof van that is driven by his associate, Partner. Partner was a client that Rudd managed to get found not guilty of killing an undercover drug cop. He now basically is Rudd’s shadow, defender, partner, and best friend.

Another interesting part of the whole story is the ongoing battle with Judith who is Rudd’s divorced wife. She left him and much to his chagrin lives with her new female live in companion. They would probably never see one another except for the fact that Judith has basically full time custody of Starcher, their young son who is in second grade. She is battling constantly to stop Rudd from any rights (which are already so restrictive it is ridiculous) and Rudd wants to stay in contact with the boy though he doesn’t really want custody.

Things get very interesting for the reader when Rudd and Starcher are at the weekly cage fights (Starcher’s first ever). Tadeo, Rudd’s fighter beats the referee to death immediately after he loses the decision and fight!

Rudd signs on as Tadeo’s attorney and most of the rest of the story is about the courtroom drama as well as the behind the scenes happenings that occur. Throughout the story Grisham pretty well derides the legal system and those in it although he does it in such a way that even I, a staunch believer in our justice system, can see the faults and imperfections.

The story line is well delineated and moves at a quick pace so that the reader can stay engaged in an interesting well-written novel. And as usual very limited profanity and no sex which always makes Grisham a good read!

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