On the right side of the law. Sort of.
Sebastian Rudd is not your typical street lawyer. He works out of a customized bulletproof van, complete with Wi-Fi, a bar, a small fridge, fine leather chairs, a hidden gun compartment, and a heavily armed driver. He has no firm, no partners, no associates, and only one employee, his driver, who's also his bodyguard, law clerk, confidant, and golf caddy. He lives alone in a small but extremely safe penthouse apartment, and his primary piece of furniture is a vintage pool table. He drinks small-batch bourbon and carries a gun.
Sebastian defends people other lawyers won't go near: a drug-addled, tattooed kid rumored to be in a satanic cult, who is accused of molesting and murdering two little girls; a vicious crime lord on death row; a homeowner arrested for shooting at a SWAT team that mistakenly invaded his house. Why these clients? Because he believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial, even if he, Sebastian, has to cheat to secure one. He hates injustice, doesn't like insurance companies, banks, or big corporations; he distrusts all levels of government and laughs at the justice system's notions of ethical behavior.
Sebastian Rudd is one of John Grisham's most colorful, outrageous, and vividly drawn characters yet. Gritty, witty, and impossible to put down, ROGUE LAWYER showcases the master of the legal thriller at his very best.
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Rogue Lawyer is the 26th stand-alone novel by popular American author, John Grisham. Sebastian Rudd is a rogue lawyer. He defends criminals no-one else will touch; he is unpopular with criminals and with the police, so unpopular that his last office was fire-bombed; he is not above cheating, especially when he believes the other side is doing it; he says he fights bad systems and hates injustice.
After finishing parts one and two, the reader could be forgiven for thinking that the book is going to be a collection of anecdotes about cases Rudd has won or lost, but persistence proves that Grisham is giving his character a back-story, so that his behaviour later in the book seems consistent. Rudd does spend quite a bit of time justifying his actions, though, especially when it comes to his broken marriage, his obsession with cage fighting and his interactions with his seven-year-old son.
This is a legal thriller that touches on wrongful arrest, trial by media, death row, and death by SWAT team. There is a dramatic prison escape, a car bombing, more than one kidnap, several cage fights, sex trafficking, and a SWAT assault, all against a background of conflict with Rudd’s ex-wife over visitation rights. The size and nature of back-room court deals, if accurate, is quite an eye-opener. Not Grisham’s best, but still a good read.
With thanks to TheReadingRoom and Hachette for this copy to read and review