Legal Thrillers

November 3, 2021

Connelly, Michael. THE LAW OF INNOCENCE. Grand Central. May '21. $16.99. Sixth in the Lincoln Lawyer series. "Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller is back on the job in this heart-stopping thriller.... On the night he celebrates a big win, defense attorney Mickey Haller is pulled over by police, who find the body of a former client in the trunk of his Lincoln. Haller is immediately charged with murder but can't post the exorbitant $5 million bail slapped on him by a vindictive judge. Mickey elects to represent himself and is forced to mount his defense from his jail cell in the Twin Towers Correctional Center in downtown Los Angeles. All the while he needs to look over his shoulder - as an officer of the court he is an instant target, and he makes few friends when he reveals a corruption plot within the jail. But the bigger plot is the one against him. Haller knows he's been framed, whether by a new enemy or an old one. As his trusted team, including his half-brother, Harry Bosch, investigates, Haller must use all his skills in the courtroom to counter the damning evidence against him. Even if he can obtain a not-guilty verdict, Mickey understands that it won't be enough. In order to be truly exonerated, he must find out who really committed the murder and why.That is the law of innocence."

Grisham, John. A TIME FOR MERCY: A Jake Brigance Novel. Dell Books. July '21. $8.99. "Jake Brigance is back! Clanton, Mississippi. 1990. Jake Brigance finds himself embroiled in a deeply divisive trial when the court appoints him attorney for Drew Gamble, a timid sixteen-year-old boy accused of murdering a local deputy. Many in Clanton want a swift trial and the death penalty, but Brigance digs in and discovers that there is more to the story than meets the eye. Jake's fierce commitment to saving Drew from the gas chamber puts his career, his financial security, and the safety of his family on the line. In what may be the most personal and accomplished legal thriller of John Grisham's storied career, we deepen our acquaintance with the iconic Southern town of Clanton and the vivid cast of characters that so many readers know and cherish. The result is a richly rewarding novel that is both timely and timeless, full of wit, drama, and - most of all - heart. Bursting with all the courthouse scheming, small-town intrigue, and stunning plot twists that have become the hallmarks of the master of the legal thriller, A TIME FOR MERCY is John Grisham's most powerful courtroom drama yet."

Hallett, Janice. THE APPEAL: A Novel. Atria Books. January '22. $27.00. When an entire community tries to help a very ill child things escalate into a murder and every citizen is a suspect. It all begins during the rehearsals of a local theatre group, The Fairway Players, when the director's grandchild is diagnosed with cancer. The experimental treatment is very expensive and everybody gets involved in raising money. But one of the actresses who used to work for NGO, isn't so sure about the possible cure and raises doubts. Things go from bad to worse on the night of a dress rehearsal when a body is found the following day. An arrest is made, but is the person that was arrested really the killer? Two young lawyers take on the case and try to solve the murder using emails, messages, and letters to prove the guilty party is still at large.

Turow, Scott. THE LAST TRIAL. Grand Central. February '21. $16.99. "At eighty-five years old, Alejandro 'Sandy' Stern, a brilliant defense lawyer with his health failing but spirit intact, is on the brink of retirement. But when his old friend Dr. Kiril Pafko, a former Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, is faced with charges of insider trading, fraud, and murder, his entire life's work is put in jeopardy, and Stern decides to take on one last trial. In a case that will be the defining coda to both men's accomplished lives, Stern probes beneath the surface of his friend's dazzling veneer as a distinguished cancer researcher. As the trial progresses, he will question everything he thought he knew about his friend. Despite Pafko's many failings, is he innocent of the terrible charges laid against him? How far will Stern go to save his friend, and - no matter the trial's outcome - will he ever know the truth? Stern's duty to defend his client and his belief in the power of the judicial system both face a final, terrible test in the courtroom, where the evidence and reality are sometimes worlds apart."

© 1996-2021 Bill Palmer.