As many of you probably have, I’ve read numerous John Grisham novels over the years, always safe in the knowledge that I was almost ‘guaranteed’ a good read. The best seller, Rogue Lawyer is no different, though the main character, Sebastian Rudd and the disjointed construct of the first third of the book took me a while to warm to.
Rudd is not typical lawyer material in any sense of the word. His character translates as rough, unrefined, unpolished and definitely a far cry from the slick, courtroom efficienados usually portrayed in legal novels. For me, Rudd is the point of difference in this book. I’m not sure if I like him, but as a reader you can’t help but admire the way he handles his shit.
It’s a convoluted plot. Initially there were so many separate scenarios that I thought Rogue Lawyer was simply a series of short accounts of Rudd’s cases and very colourful clientele. This is not the case but sets the scene for a twisted tale of kidnapping and corruption, intertwined with Rudd’s own failings and conflicts as an estranged parent.
The crimes and criminals painted by Grisham in Rogue Lawyer are dirty, thug-level evil. This is a novel far removed from corporate, white-collar, hands-clean crime. It’s not pretty and I think that’s what caught me by surprise. To be honest I’m not sure I would go back for another date with Sebastian Rudd, the writing is fundamentally Grisham, but the voice was so different in this novel that I was stretched a little.
Lawyering level 6/10 – the drama in this book is mostly played out outside the realms of the courtroom.
Evil villains? So many I lost track.
Die-hard Grisham fans will be happy, Rogue Lawyer is a great read, a novel I looked forward to picking up each evening but not my favourite offering from the undisputed master of legal thrillers.