Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
Genre: Legal Thriller
Losing the trial of his life could mean losing everything.
When a young reporter is found dead and a prominent Philadelphia businessman is accused of her murder, Mick McFarland finds himself involved in the case of his life. The defendant, David Hanson, was Mick’s close friend in law school, and the victim, a TV news reporter, had reached out to Mick for legal help only hours before her death.
Mick’s played both sides of Philadelphia’s courtrooms. As a top-shelf defense attorney and former prosecutor, he knows all the tricks of the trade. And he’ll need every one of them to win.
But as the trial progresses, he’s disturbed by developments that confirm his deepest fears. This trial, one that already hits too close to home, may jeopardize his firm, his family—everything. Now Mick’s only way out is to mastermind the most brilliant defense he’s ever spun, one that will cross every legal and moral boundary.
I’m always slightly hesitant before I read a legal thriller, will it be full of legal jargon that bores me to tears? Will it be bland and dry with more long speeches by blabbing lawyers than actual thrills? None of that happened here, in fact it was quite the opposite. I was highly engrossed in this story and had a hard time putting it down. This isn’t a straightforward legal drama, there is much more going on under the surface than you initially think, which is exactly why I ended up loving A Criminal Defense so much!
This was jam packed with complex characters with even more complex relationships and they all toed the line in terms of morality. Mick is the protagonist and the defense attorney for his old friend, David. He was caught at the scene of the murder of Jennifer and things don’t look good for his case at all. You also have the prosecutor, Devlin, Mick’s wife Piper, his brother Tommy and David’s wife Marcie. No one seems to be playing by the rules, they all have hidden agendas and dark secrets full of corruption and betrayals. It was a tangled web to say the least and I couldn’t have loved their twisted relationships any more.
The beginning of the book is a lot of build up as the case doesn’t actually go to court until after the halfway point, however the author was laying the groundwork for some explosive moments later on down the road, so it was all necessary in the end. His writing style is crisp and his legal knowledge is on point, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s not over the top. He details exactly what the reader needs to know and nothing more or less. The final twenty percent is where things get super intense, the courtroom drama is full of tension and is vividly rendered. The main plot twist blindsided me, I’m talking jaw dropping, I never saw it coming type of twist, though in hindsight, the breadcrumbs where all there, I just didn’t follow them. A Criminal Defense is an outstanding debut from a talented writer to keep your eye on.
Overall rating: 4.5/5