Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham review


Rogue Lawyer is the new legal thriller by John Grisham. It features a main character called Sevastian Rudd who might best be described as an “unorthodox” street lawyer.

He’s a lawyer who thrives by taking the unpopular cases that other lawyers won’t go near. For example the first case we see him involved in has him defending a young man accused of murdering two young girls. The defendant has already been found guilty through trial by media and by the court of public opinion.

There is another suspect but the prosecutors would lose face by admitting they were wrong. As a result of this Rudd has to use whatever dirty tricks he can to get evidence. In this case he resorts to having the other suspect punched in the face in a bar fight in order to get a blood sample.

Some of his clients are innocent, such as the tattooed kid accused of the above murders. Some are clearly guilty, such as a crime boss on death row. But Rudd gives them the same defence he thinks everyone is entitled to.

The book is told through the first person and Rudd lets us know his exact opinion of the failings of the judicial system and the police, especially when it comes to the macho warrior-cops who as a SWAT team storm the wrong house and kill an innocent occupant.

The book recounts some of his legal adventures in an almost episodic fashion. At first I thought that the book was going to present these cases as linked short stories but then I realised that Grisham is affording the reader a glimpse at the overlaps of cases which are at different stages of the legal process. All this is interspersed with Rudd’s involvement with shady characters from both sides of the law.

Rogue Lawyer is an entertaining read and I suspect it may mark the start of a new series featuring the Rudd character.

Rogue Lawyer is published in hardback by Hodder books on 20 October 2015.

Thanks to Hodder for my review copy.