Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Mammoth Book of Legal Thrillers

One of the books I've been reading is The Mammoth Book of Legal Thrillers (2001). Now, I'm not big on legal thrillers and I've never read a John Grisham or a Scott Turow. I was quite bored with two or three Perry Masons I've tried. The court-room scenery holds no appeal to me, for whatever reasons. I picked this up at the library mainly because of some interesting authors in the table of contents and because the book was compiled with both new and old stories, an approach that does hold an appeal for me, for whatever reasons. I haven't had - and won't have - a time to read the whole book and I'll have to take this back to the library and get on to other things in life (and book shelves), but I managed to read some dozen of the stories. Here are some brief reviews:


Francis M. Nevins jr: Night of Silken Snow: well written, but the end comes from a bit far
Joe Lansdale & Andrew Vachss: Veil's Visit: quite funny tall-talish story with Hap and Leonard
Michael A. Black: Reasonable Doubts: pretty okay story, but would've hoped for more action; James Reasoner liked Black's one-off crime novel very much, details here
Irwin Shaw: Triumph of Justice: quite good as a story, but I thought Shaw was using some racial stereotypes in here, as late as 1978
John Lutz: Dogs and Fleas: sorry, don't remember much about this, even though I know I read it
Brian Hodge: Speedball: a very good and original story about a hunt for the last days of John Belushi, from a known horror writer
Morris Hershman: Bail Hearing: about this I remember only that it was written as a letter and there was a surprise twist, expertly handed, I'm sure
Henry Slesar: Thicker Than Water: a good court-room story, with a nice twist in the end; some of the forensics was a bit dated, though
James Powell: A Murder Coming: from 1972, a pretty tough one to follow, but actually quite good
C.J. Henderson: The First Thing We Do...: clever ending, but I don't really know if it was satisfactory
Mat Coward: Tomorrow's Villain: otherwise very good, but I didn't believe in the revelation about how and why the crime was committed
Mike Wiecek: The New Lawyer: funny short-short whose end I had to read twice to get a grasp of what really happened; I've published one short-short by Wiecek in Isku, "A Brother's Gift" from Hardluck Stories

1 comment:

Peter said...

Joe Lansdale and Andrew Vachss -- that's a combustible combination. Could be a wild story.

I don't normally like legal thrillers, either, but I recently read and enjoyed an Australian novel called Crook as Rookwood by Chris Nyst (I posted about it here: http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/search/label/Chris%20Nyst.) The courtroom scenes are exciting, but the local color and the shady characters and crooked politics are even better and funnier.

And I had surgery for sinusitis in 1987, so I sympathize with your current illness. I wish you a speedy recovery.
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Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"