Need a Book to Read?

Posted By on January 3, 2012

Need a book to read?  Something with or about the law but not quite rising to the scholarly level?

Consider, The Confession by John Grisham, winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.  “When Travis Boyette is paroled because of inoperable brain tumor, for the first time in his life, he decides to do the right thing and tell police about a crime he committed and another man is about to be executed for.”
Michael Connelly, one of the runners up for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, has a new book out, The Fifth Witness:  “Mickey Haller has fallen on tough times. He expands his business into foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home. Mickey puts his team into high gear to exonerate Lisa Trammel, even though the evidence and his own suspicions tell him his client is guilty. Soon after he learns that the victim had black market dealings of his own, Haller is assaulted, too, and he’s certain he’s on the right trail.”

Alex Aldridge mentions, Tim Kevan’s, BabyBarista series in Best Legal Reads of 2011, (http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2011/dec/22/legal-reads-2011/print).   This one you’ll have to get elsewhere. Amazon’s description: It is BabyBarista’s first day as a pupil barrister. He has just one year to win, by foul means or fair, the sought-after prize of a tenancy in chambers. Competition is fierce: there’s TopFirst, who has a prize-winning CV and an ego to match; BusyBody, a human whirlwind on a husband hunt; and wide-eyed Worrier, buckling under the weight of the world. Armed with a copy of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”, BabyBarista launches a no-holds barred fight to the death of double-dealing, dirty tricks and a healthy dose of back-stabbing. Part Rumpole, part Flashman, BabyBarista opens a window onto the Machiavellian and frequently absurd ways of working life. Follow BabyBarista’s adventures on The BabyBarista Blog.”

Owen Bowcott, (in  Best Legal Reads of 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2011/dec/22/legal-reads-2011/print) suggests Blackwater Rising by Attica Locke  as a “legal romp through he American South and the 1980s oil business … packs in courtroom suspense, bodies near the bayou and a history of Black Panther politics. It’s Texas, where layers carry pistols and aren’t afraid to use them. Another small town lawyer taking on corporate corruption — but with atmosphere and verve.”

For something more serious serious, consider Connie Rice’s memoir,  Power Concedes Nothing. Vernon Ford’s review from Booklistonline, Dec.1, 2011: “Civil rights attorney Rice makes a comparison between L.A. street gangs and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, raising the question, How do you provide security amid despair? How do you provide safety for people with no hope? She recalls that in her career spent fighting the LAPD and sheriff department on behalf of the poor and minorities, Rice formed alliances with street gangs to address those questions. Drawing on her experience working with gangs, she served on the L.A. city council commission on gangs and helped change the city’s law enforcement and outreach to gangs. Rice parallels the threat of gang violence and the threat of bad schools that lead to diminished opportunities and vulnerability to gang recruitment. She intersperses her career as a civil rights litigator with personal recollections of growing up a military brat and black American princess, the daughter of an air force general bent on breaking down racial barriers and providing broader opportunities for his children. This powerful memoir offers vivid accounts of the fight for social justice from the streets to the courtroom. An excellent read. This one is not yet available on campus or via Mobius but will be at http://searchmobius.org/record=b25974230~S0.

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