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Search tags: legal-thriller
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review 2018-02-28 10:14
Paltry Topic for the Legal Eagle?
The Rooster Bar - John Grisham

No one can refute the lasting success of John Grisham as a storyteller. As the author of thirty one novels and sales in the many millions, he enjoys an ardent following of readers, besotted by the fast-moving plotlines, most often exposing some of the fascinating nooks and crannies of the US criminal justice system (though my personal favourite is unrelated to the law – “A Painted House”). Rarely retracing his steps, one must admire too, the author’s originality as well as professional longevity.


As Grisham divulges in the ‘author’s note’, the kernel of this latest book grew from a magazine article by Paul Campos lamenting “The Law School Scam”. A system that apparently preys on the aspirations of wannabe student lawyers, lured by the prospect of a well-paid career, which will never be realised by the majority, yet burden the recipients with mountainous debts, is potentially scandalous and ripe for the Grisham spotlight.
Cue four student friends approaching their final semester at the sub-prime ‘Foggy Bottom Law School’. Each is tending a debt of around $200K and has a ‘handler’ keen to establish a repayment plan. As realisation hits that job prospects are poor and only 50% are predicted to even pass the bar exam, the bleak future calls for radical measures. The friends identify that they have been scammed by the system and wealthy vested interests and embark on a naïve, but bold, scam of their own.


There is something endearing about the youngsters blundering around in an environment, until recently, a hypothetical arena of law. Surrounded by the more hardened beasts of the jungle, however, they have the audacity of youth and an inventiveness born of necessity. For the reader, there is also something enjoyable about the clear underdog blowing a metaphorical raspberry in the face of the establishment. Perhaps it panders to romantic notions of Robin Hood-esque wealth redistribution, or the victim turning the tables on the ‘real’ criminals, but it is a compelling cocktail and one that the author exploits to the full.


Grisham is a master of the suspenseful, thrilling story and the pace and weave of the unfolding strands is beguiling. I don’t think this book is as dramatic as a number of the author’s other novels. Nor are the relationships as convincing. The ending also reminded me of the movie, “Trading Places”. Yet, for all that, it was a compelling read that I've happily skipped through in ‘holiday-read’ fashion.


It is hard not to have a sneaking regard for life’s rebels and though the central characters are hardly white-collar musketeers, their ‘all for one and one for all’ approach has the reader willing them to ‘beat’ the system. For Mr Grisham, another book and another bestseller no doubt, albeit not his best.

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review 2018-01-08 16:25
When the Fire Wanes
The Gods of Guilt - Michael Connelly

So I really did enjoy this one, but thought the angst that Haller was dealing with was ridiculous. I also wish that Connelly had showed us Haller running for the DA's office and how the scandal affected him in the moment. We are hearing about events from about a year ago in the series and it just drove me up the wall we didn't get to experience it. 

 

Haller is down and out in this one. He has returned to drinking, and seems to be going through the motions. Haller lost trying to run as a DA after a former client of his ends up killing someone close to Hayley and Maggie. Haller is blamed and just gets destroyed at the polls. What's worse is that Hayley and even Maggie barely speak to him anymore. He hasn't seen his daughter in a year, and when he does see Maggie at the courthouse she turns and goes in another direction. Haller keeps seeing his father's old partner (called Legal) who is doing his best to get Haller to get over his shit and get back to defending his clients. A fire has gone out in Haller and everyone can see it.


When Haller gets a call to defend a man who is charged with killing a prostitute, Haller is curious how his name was brought up. The ties into the case that first brought us Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer) was pretty fantastic. Haller starts to get back a little of what he lost in the preceding year and even gets a love interest in this one (that I ended up feeling sorry for throughout). 

 

Haller is ready to take down the dragon in this one since he realizes that he truly has a client that is innocent, problem is that there are many that want him to go to jail since it would bring up a lot of corruption. 

 

We have Haller get put in harm's way and we lose a character that I loved. Haller talks about the personal jury that judges us all in the end, and I feel for him. He's definitely got his groove back by the end of the book. But what comes before definitely changes him. 

 

We get recurring characters in this one. We have Lorna judging Haller a lot in this one. I wish we had some more dialogue between these two since Haller acts way too much like her husband at times and she is angry at Haller too.


We have a Bosch sighting (seriously though it's weird Bosch was all blase about his half brother almost being killed) that made me shrug a bit.

The court room scenes still are my favorite parts of this series.

 

The ending leaves Haller at a type of peace for the moment. 

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review 2018-01-08 15:17
Who is the Fifth Witness?
The Fifth Witness - Michael Connelly

So this was a really great installment of the Lincoln Lawyer series. Sometimes Connelly gets a little too meta for me though (talking about Matthew McConaughey and who would play Mickey Haller in a movie starring him) but that wasn't too annoying for me. I think the biggest reason I can gush about this one, is that if you read this and "The Gods of Guilt" back to back the development or spiraling of Haller's character was wonderful to read. We also get a pop up of Bosch in this one. Seriously though, he sounds even more anti-social and just odd in the Haller books. 

 

"The Fifth Witness" is dealing with Haller a bit down in his luck. He had to start looking for income elsewhere and has now taken on an associate to help him with foreclosure cases. When a client of his (who is a pain in the ass) is arrested for the murder of a banker that she blames for her losing her house. 


Ohh yeah. So I loved that Connelly takes about the foreclosure crisis in America. It was insane to me when I was reading about what was going on. People being approved for loans they 100 percent could not afford all without realizing that due to many of them doing an adjustable mortgage that they would have to pay hundreds of dollars more than they planned. I liked that Haller was going in as a crusader about it and also being straight forward that all he is doing is buying his clients some time, cause they are going to lose their homes.


Haller was really good in this one. He has a new driver (Rojas) and is turning a new page in his relationship with his ex (Maggie) and his daughter. They seem to almost be a family again and Haller really wants them back. With this new murder case he is once again seen as the bad guy cause he's a defense lawyer.

I don't get that though. Everyone is entitled to a defense in this country, I don't get why anyone acts like defense lawyers are garbage. We all going to pretend that there have not been many men who have wrongfully been incarcerated in this country? I really did enjoy Haller's "The Lincoln Lawyer" because it does show Haller having to deal with the fact that a client of his is innocent and the guilt he feels because he was going through his usual motions for that case. 

 

I did love that Haller called out Maggie about her wanting to be with him, but wanting him to do something different cause she's a prosecutor. Haller comes at a turning point in his career in this one due to wanting to do what he can to be with his family. I did hate a love (not really) scene between Haller and Maggie cause it made me cringe inside. Haller also justifying doing something illegal to Maggie made me want to pound my head. What I love is that he justifies verbally but knows he is full of crap.

 

Haller's client Lisa Trammel is an asshole. Seriously. I can't even imagine having to deal with her. I was the least surprised person by things revealed to us as readers later. But that's because I think Connelly showed his hand there a little bit.

 

We also get recurring characters in this one. We have Lorna, Cisco (I can't even spell his last name) Maggie, Hayley, and also Bosch. 

 

I did love the legal explanations for things. And also how Connelly shows the timeline in his books. Trials are not these things that just pop up and happen in a week. You get to see Haller and company run down witnesses and evidence. And I loved how Haller has to choose what to push and pull on depending on the witnesses involved. 

 

The flow was really good in this one. I liked how Haller just didn't back down on doing what he had to for his client, even though she drove him up the wall.

 

The ending was fantastic. I cracked up at what happens and it looks like we get an exciting new chapter for Haller to look forward to. 

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review 2017-10-28 16:35
The Rooster Bar
The Rooster Bar - John Grisham

By:  John Grisham

ISBN: 0385541171

Publisher: Doubleday 

Publication Date: 10/24/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

#1 New York Times bestselling author, John Grisham returns following Camino Island with his 25th novel THE ROOSTER BAR — a legal thriller exploring conspiracies inside for-profit law schools and the lives it destroys in this modern-day scandal ripped from today’s headlines.

Inspired by an article in the Atlantic called “The Law-School Scam,” a lengthy investigation of for-profit law schools, the author takes off an inside look at corruption in the legal field and student loans.

Gordy, Mark, Todd, and Zola each have their own stories and how they landed at Foggy Bottom— a third-tier for-profit law school. Each has borrowed heavily and student loans are enormous, there is no way they will ever attain a job to begin paying back this debt.

Each of the three is drowning in student debt, which it would seem will be impossible to ever pay off. Mark owes $266,000; Todd, $195,000; Zola, $191,000. 

Foggy Bottom had enticed them to take out huge federally backed loans — from an equally disreputable bank that offered easy money with the false prospect that they would get high-paying jobs immediately upon being graduated and passing the bar.

They each had high expectations as well as their families. Soon they realize there is more to the story. Gordy (bi-polar), is engaged to be married (to wealthy white girl from his hometown); however, seeing Zola on the side. She is black Muslim-American. 

Gordy has done much research and lays out all the players for the group. His obsession turns to madness quickly and they all are concerned. 

Their school is owned by a corrupt New York hedge-fund operator Hinds Rackley, who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, and connected with various law firms. He is a billionaire and using thousands of students to bankroll his lifestyle. A scam. However, what will they do with this information? Who will believe them? 

They are in their third year and the $$$ and interest are mounting daily. Drowning in debt, pressures from debt collectors, and no promise of a job, they set out on a dangerous course to try and outsmart the conman. They will never be able to repay this debt. 

Gordy cannot take it anymore. After he is gone, they decide they will honor him by fighting back the best way they can to survive. 

Taking a page from SUITS, (even though I think Michael Ross is smarter); they decide they will practice law without a law degree. Going rogue is a little difficult when they do not have the funds to make this work, or will they? 

 




Will they be able to pull off their own scam to con a con, (David vs. Goliath) without being sent to prison before they are found out? In the meantime, who will bring down the bigger scam that drove them to desperate measures? 

With only Mark, Todd, and Zola remaining, they will have to stay one step ahead of the impending danger, in order to beat the system.

Mixed with legal-drama, suspense, action, and humor, THE ROOSTER BAR uncovers greed, conspiracies and throws Zola’s family issues (deportation) for added conflict in this compelling 

"More than 44 million Americans who have borrowed money to pay for college owe over $1.4 trillion in student loan debt."

More fact than fiction — we are well aware, the significant number of real-life American millennials duped by unscrupulous banks and businesses today, is astounding. 

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Ari Fliakos for an entertaining listening experience. 

The entire time I was reading/listening kept thinking about Roosters, the popular gay bar here in West Palm Beach, FL with the Best Drag Show and has been around for over 30 yrs.

Love the Cover and the Title!

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/08/11/The-Rooster-Bar
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review 2017-08-18 19:31
Started Off Strong and Just Got Lost in Too Many Coincidences
Beach Lawyer (Beach Lawyer Series) - Avery Duff

I really think this series has some potential if the author, Avery Duff, can keep the plot a lot more tight in the next book.

 

"Beach Lawyer" follows Robert Worth. Robert has been working for a very prestigious law firm for five years and is given the nod that he is about to become a partner. Even though he finds the actions of one of the partners, Jack Pierce, to be personally distasteful, he thinks that he has more than shown the firm his worth. Things go great til Robert ends up flaming out when he is verbally pushed by Pierce. When Robert realizes that he is getting blackballed in town, he decides the best thing to do is take on Pierce.

 

I honestly think the first half of the book was really good. I loved how Duff developed Worth. Heck, I even liked how Worth got his first client/assistant. But then the wheels came off and all of these things are being revealed about secondary characters and things got confusing. We even have some reveals about Robert that I honestly didn't care about. 

 

I would say this book tried very hard to be "The Firm" and then it just turned into a Lifetime Movie. There are way too many coincidences to be believed after a while. 

 

I would suggest for future books it may be better to make sure that the legalese gets turned down a bit. You definitely realize Duff knows what he is talking about. But after a while I felt like I was drowning in legal minutiae and I just didn't care. 

 

The flow which started off very well just jumped back and forth til the end. I didn't know who I was supposed to care about, who was a hero, who was a villain, etc. 


The book ending fell very flat. I think I am supposed to intuit that some of these characters are going to pop up in the next book, but am stretching my brain to see how anyone but Robert should return. 

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