Before I wanted to be a journalist, I wanted to be a lawyer. Not only do I get a thrill when I argue a point I believe to be right (if in doubt ask Keith), but from a very young age I was beguiled by the writings of John Grisham. I scoured the library shelves during every visit to see if they had any new works I hadn’t yet devoured. To this day, The Client, which I first read at about 13 years-old, is still one of my favourite books. And who could blame me for idolising the savvy character of Reggie Love, who goes above and beyond to protect her 11 year old client, who finds himself pursued by the Mafia.
As I’ve got older, my personal desire to be a lawyer has been quenched (a decision cemented after court reporting as a trainee journalist highlighted that not every day in court is as exciting as in a Grisham novel), however I still love nothing more than escaping into the stories crafted by this award-winning author.
Recently I finished Grisham’s latest release Rogue Lawyer. The protagonist, Sebastian Rudd, is a lawyer who takes the cases no else wants: the drug-addled punk accused of murdering two little girls; a crime lord on death row; a homeowner who shot a SWAT team. However, when Sebastian is asked to represent Arch Swanger, the prime suspect in the abduction and presumed murder of 21 year-old Juliana Kemp, he unwittingly finds himself the keeper of a terrible secret, one that will threaten everything he holds dear.
I adored this book. Sebastian is a captivating character. He is hated by the local police, by his ex wife and even by some of his clients. However, Sebastian relishes in making other people dislike him, not only does he love a fight, in and out of the court, but generally when he has someone riled, it means he is doing his job right. What I loved the most about him though is that Sebastian is an utterly genuine character. Whilst it’s easy to presume someone’s innocence or guilt, Sebastian does not judge, he defends each client with a dedicated and unwavering passion. He doesn’t let public opinion sway how well he does his job. Additionally, throughout the novel it is apparent how loyal Sebastian is. He will use situations that could benefit him personally, to help clients he believes in. He also will also put himself out of pocket to help people he has history with.
As well as a complex and intriguing protagonist, Rogue Lawyer is an exceptionally constructed novel. As the novel progresses, Grisham weaves together the stories of several of Sebastian’s clients. Each case is in its own way thrilling, which not only snares your attention but leaves you wanting to find out how it concludes. I won’t lie, I was so invested in the Renfro case, I did something I don’t usually do, and skipped forward because I desperately wanted to know how it was resolved.
Rogue Lawyer is a rip-roaring novel from start to finish. By displaying Sebastian Rudd’s interaction with his clients, who face deviating charges and hail from contrasting backgrounds, as well as his relationship with his ex wife and his son Starcher, and his connection with his body guard/paralegal Partner, Grisham creates a protagonist, who on the surface you should hate, but once you get to know him, you can’t help but be won over by his roguish charm. Throw in a truly loathsome villain in the shape of Arch Swanger, and Rogue Lawyer is a brilliant novel, that will take you on a roller-coaster of a ride that entertains from start to finish.