Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Review: "Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales"

(I read the Kindle edition.) Really good book. Landon, a former SEC quarterback who was convicted of point shaving, gets out of jail, immediately marries girlfriend & mother of child. In prison, finds faith in God and finishes law school. Finally gets hired by lawyer, Harry, about whom he initially questions his ethics but develops a high respect for his investigative and trial gut sense and, though he doesn't always agree with Harry, realizes that he is ethical.

Kerri, Landon's wife, is a budding investigative journalist who gets some unusual breaks. Both Landon and Kerri are suddenly immersed in intrigues -- murder trial for which Landon is the assistant lawyer to Harry, client is accused of insider trading, Kerri is being "sponsored" by the head of a clandestine security agency and is offered an easy path to a dream reporting job. Things begin to fall apart when 3 lawyers with Landon's firm are killed and Landon takes the lead in the murder case.

There are a number of twists and turns in the book that compelled me to continue reading to find out what would happen. Singer weaves the plot skillfully so that the end is never clear. Both Landon and Kerri struggle with attraction to someone else but are held in check by their love for each other and their strong faith, though Landon's friendship with Rachel crosses an emotional line.

The story deals with friendship, true loyalty, temptations and testing, and faith in ways that I did not find obnoxious. (DISCLAIMER: I share the principles of the main characters. Some will find the Epilogue too evangelistic, but it's consistent with both the faith of the characters and with Singer's 'day job'.) There's even a twist at the end that's reminiscent of O. Henry stories and Jeffrey Archer books and short stories.

To me, the biggest problem with the book is that it seems very unreal to have a rookie, first-year lawyer develop instincts and insights so quickly -- taking on a 1st amendment case, talking seriously about opening his own law firm in DC, etc. Frankly, that's the only reason for 4-stars instead of 5-stars -- Landon and Kerri are just a bit too good at what they do. I thought the book was as good as Grisham and the language was less offensive, as in no foul language. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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