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Where to begin? I like good courtroom battle stories with a good (please forgive the oxymoron) lawyer be it defense, prosecutor or otherwise, springing the trap on the other (and more common) bad lawyer. Mix it with action, a la John Grisham - Sycamore Row or Michael Connelly - Lincoln Lawyer, and I am completely engrossed. This is NONE of that.
FULL DISCLOSURE, I only made it to Chapter 23 of 41 before I threw my hands up and surrendered. The synopsis of the book seemed as though it could be a good legal thriller. The premise COULD HAVE BEEN developed into a great story. Instead, I had to keep my finger on the Fast-Forward button constantly. There are 3 PARAGRAPHS of story related information or character and plot development and then 3 CHAPTERS of the main protagonist lawyer talking to his 4-year-old daughter: "isn't she just the most adorable thing with her mispronunciation of Good Lawyer that comes out Good LIAR?" And for a break from that, we do just 1 paragraph on his six-year-old son’s baseball games and sullen personality. That equated to 30 seconds of story related dialogue and 10 or 15 minutes sometimes of tripe that I assume, was supposed to make the main character likable and human. This happens over and over not just in one place.
As for the great legal maneuvering that we were given in those brief 30 seconds of relevant conversation, it was as dry as reading the transcripts from a motion hearing on discovery. The hero lawyer, an "Employment Attorney" is representing an executive from an energy company that was fired after he reported multiple mine safety violations in a coal mine owned by the energy company. According to the synopsis, this whistle-blower set off a chain of events that would change lives and communities forever. But, more than 1/2 way through the book, NOTHING. A Lawsuit with a single corporate counsel that slowly or improperly responds to the plaintiff’s demand for discovery and is generally unlikable.
The READER and the Audio Editing is probably the worst or maybe second worst I have ever heard. Audio Editing was horrible. At one point in chapter 11, the reader in mid-sentence clears his throat - Um hmmmm - then restarts the paragraph from the beginning. I just shook my head. I actually thought for a time that the book was really the Google Text To Voice program reading the book. Inflections are weird and the cadence halting and slow. ANY authoritative voices (the lazy and unhappy judge) have a deep cartoon voice that sound like Mr. Ed (the talking horse). The other corporate lawyer who is both authoritative and shady, sounds like a BAD cross breeding of Mr. Ed and Eeyore (oh me, oh my). The President of the bad energy company that apparently sometime (after the half way point of the story) turns out to be a REALLY bad guy, has a brother in law that just got out of prison. He did 3 years for drugs and theft and is going to temporarily stay with the company president to get back going. This character has a voice that is a cross between Phineas and Ferb (Cartoon Network) and Bart Simpson with a hint of petulant 5-year-old thrown in. Dude would NEVER survive 3-years in prison. 5 chapters into the book and I wanted to beat him! And, again, half way into the book and I still can't say if the prison tatted brother-in-law is or is not relevant.
Last, the writing of dialogue is just unbearable. I am sure this is not helped by the train wreck of a reader, but the writing is amateurish. Although I am not sure that is exactly what I mean. It may be more a case of a precise lawyer or engineer, used to writing for reports or pleadings, thinking that being a novelist is closely related. Real people in real life speak in conversational English with contractions and mutilated grammar. They use informal and imprecise terminology with the understanding that inflection, facial and hand gestures, and overall context fill in the meaning and intent that is not found in the exact words. Here, the author writes long hand "I have not yet had the time to..." instead of the more real... "Not yet" or "No time". There’s more, but why beat a dead horse?
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