Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top Legal Thriller of All Time Is ___________.

From the messy desk of Paul Levine...

Last week, I talked about choosing the greatest legal thriller of all time.  Okay, that's a little presumptuous.  Maybe I should say my "favorite" legal thriller.

After much thought, I've chosen.  No, it's not "To Kill a Mockingbird," even though that might be my favorite coming-of-age, loss-of-innocence novel.  No, it's not John Grisham's "A Time to Kill" or Scott Turow's "Presumed Innocent," two books I love.

It's earlier novel than any of those.  These days, we're used to the justice system being painted in shades of gray.  As in the photo below, where the columns of the Supreme Court Building appearing warped, we acknowledge the bent nature of justice.

These days, we're accustomed to flawed heroes, too.  But when this legal thriller was published (1958), the heyday of Perry Mason, questions of right and wrong seemed clearer.  So my favorite courtroom drama was, in a sense, ahead of its time for its shadowy portrait of a murder trial that could go either way.  Like Grisham, Turow, and Erle Stanley Gardner, the author was a lawyer.  Actually, he was a judge when he wrote the book in longhand with a green felt pen on a legal pad.  He even had a small cameo as a juror when the classic movie was made from the book.  All right.  Enough clues.

 And My Favorite Legal Thriller Is...

Oh, this is so unfair. 

I answer the question here, on my website blog.

I invite you to agree...or not!

Did You Watch the Golden Globes?

In other news, I didn't watch the Golden Globes, so I can't tell you what Sandra Bullock was wearing or with whom Jennifer Lawrence is sleeping.  I did hear that Jon Voight won best supporting actor for his Irish gangster/father role in "Ray Donovan."  Well deserved!

Weather Report 

It's in the 70's in Coconut Grove tonight, the air smells of jasmine, and the air is filled with the sounds of crickets...or is that my tinnitus?

Finally, What Really Matters: College Football 

A lot of people have asked my thoughts about Penn State hiring James Franklin, who turned around Vanderbilt's football program.  Well, the young man -- he turns 42 next month -- is a loquacious, enthusiastic recruiter, and he has football smarts.  

He just better be four times better than Joe Paterno, because he's being paid quadruple Joe's last salary of $1.1 million.

For the glory,

Paul Levine


  1. Okay, I'm convinced. I'm going to read the book.

  2. I read that book a loooong time ago. I just might read it again. Thanks!

  3. James O. Born1/14/2014 6:06 PM

    Pareno, like Bowden, could never be replaced. But Franklin is a good choice.

    Jim B

  4. That would be my choice as well, from just a reader.

  5. One caveat for the modern reader: The book has great chunks of dialogue. It's not snappy, James Patterson style. But it is surely the thinking man's (or woman's) courtroom drama

  6. I will definitely be checking this one out as well. I have been on a thriller book kick lately, just finished up book one in a trilogy- "Chasing A Miracle" by Eliot Hartford Bailey http://eliothbailey.com/ - It has a little bit of everything – Action, adventure, conspiracy, religion, drama, love, government, travel, sci-fi.. just what I like in a book. Looks like this is perfect! Thanks for revealing the answer - I was dying!