Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Top Legal Thrillers: I Need Help!
From the messy desk of Paul Levine...
I'm putting together a list of my favorite legal thrillers, so feel free to chime in.
Coincidentally, I've come across a website called "Online Universities" that has selected its own favorites and summarizes each one in a single sentence. Here's the one-line summary of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," which comes in first.
"To Kill a Mockingbird" explores the implications of the cases you take on."
Yep, that's it. No mention of race, or justice, or parenting, or intolerance (and later, tolerance). Who in the name of Boo Radley wrote such a lousy description? Was the writing assignment out-sourced to Mars?
I have no problem with the choice of the novel, even though far more people remember the movie than the underlying book.
And of course, "Mockingbird" is much more than a "legal thriller." but the rape trial is surely a major element of the story. But get this...here's the one-line summary of the classic novel:
But back to the topic. Do you have any favorite legal thrillers? I am building my list.
Other, than "Mockingbird," here are some early candidates:
"Anatomy of a Murder" by Robert Traver (That's the pen name of a former Michigan Supreme Court justice, and we were pen pals, but that's a story for another day).
"Presumed Innocent" by Scott Turow
"A Time to Kill" by John Grisham
"The Best of Rumpole" by John Mortimer (or other Rumpole stories)
"The Case of the Careless Kitten" by Erle Stanley Gardner (or other Perry Mason stories)
"The Witness for the Prosecution" by Agatha Christie (a short story and stage play, not nearly as well known as the Tyrone Power/Charles Laughton/Marlene Dietrich movie).
"The Bonfire of the Vanities" by Tom Wolfe (using an expansive definition of legal thriller).
"The Lincoln Lawyer" by Michael Connelly
"Defending Jacob" by William Landay
"QB VII" by Leon Uris
"Primal Fear" by William Diehl
"Gone, but Not Forgotten" by Phillip Margolin
"The Seven Minutes" by Irving Wallace
What say you?