Sebastian Rudd takes the cases no one else wants: the drug-addled punk accused of murdering two little girls; a crime lord on death row; a homeowner who shot at a SWAT team.
But the Arch Swanger case may be the one that breaks him.
Swanger is prime suspect in the abduction and presumed murder of 21-year-old Jiliana Kemp. When Swanger asks Sebastian to represent him, he lets Sebastian in on a terrible secret – one that will threaten everything Sebastian holds dear.
This is the blurb on the back of John Grisham’s recent novel Rogue Lawyer. Why am I showing you this? Fair question. I’m showing you this because this blurb proves once more that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – or its backside for that matter.
The blurb gives the impression that Rogue Lawyer is primarily about the Arch Swanger case and the trouble this case means for Sebastian Rudd, the protagonist. Well, wrong. I was waiting for this case to be introduced, and I waited in vain for the first 190 pages of the novel, which means that whoever wrote the blurb failed to grasp the point of the novel. However, I can’t blame them, as the initial mistake was made by whoever decided that Rogue Lawyer should be classified as a novel at all. Rogue Lawyer isn’t a novel. It’s a collection of short stories that feature the same protagonist.
Great, now that we’ve established that we’re talking about a collection of short stories rather than a novel, let’s get to a question that’s probably a little more important for most – prospective – readers: how was it?
As I said before: I just really like legal thrillers and stories that deal with the judicial system.
Hence, it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed Rogue Lawyer. It was different from Gray Mountain, the first novel by Grisham I ever read, in that Sebastian Rudd, the protagonist, is not made out to be the knight in shining armour fighting for the good cause and against the bad guys. Rather, he fights for justice – even for bad guys – and for money. He goes up against the notion that guilty people don’t deserve a fair trial and he advocates the right of every defendant to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
I found this premise intriguing, because the prospect of having to defend guilty clients is one of the main reasons why I didn’t endeavour to become a lawyer myself. That and the long, tedious course of studies I would’ve had to undergo. 😀
I’m not sure whether there’ll be a sequel to Rogue Lawyer, but I do think I would pick it up if one ever came out. Reading the book, I got the feeling that Grisham was building a character that he wasn’t quite finished with by the end of it, but I guess only time will tell. I tried to find out whether this book is meant to be the start of a series, but to no avail. I did however find this:
A book trailer! I came across this concept before and I still don’t know what to make of them. I certainly don’t recall ever seeking out a book trailer to decide which book to read next. For films, yes. But for books? I think it’s a little strange.
Do you watch book trailers before picking up a new book? Do you find them helpful? If so, is there a trailer that you found particularly impressive? Feel free to share in the comments – I’m intrigued!