I thought I knew what a good legal thriller was. That was until I read this next book and realised I was sorely mistaken.
Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio
One week before Jake Rutledge is scheduled to graduate from law school, he receives the devastating news of the death of his fraternal twin, Blake. What makes this death even more terrible for Jake is that his brother died of a drug overdose. Until hearing of his death, Jake had no idea his brother was even using drugs.
When Jake returns home to Oakley, West Virginia, he takes a hard look at the circumstances of his brother’s death. In the five years Jake has been away for his schooling, his hometown has drastically changed. Because of the opioid epidemic, and the blight it has brought, many now call Oakley Zombieland. Jake can see how his town’s demise parallels his brother’s.
Undeterred, the newly minted lawyer takes on the entrenched powers by filing two lawsuits. Jake quickly learns what happens when you upset a hornet’s nest. The young attorney might be wet behind the ears, but is sure there is no lawyer that could help him more than Nick Deke Deketomis and his law firm of Bergman/Deketomis. Deke is a legendary lawyer. When he was Jake’s age he was making his name fighting Big Tobacco. Against all odds, Jake gets Nick and his firm to sign on to his case before it’s too late.
Law and Addiction went into so much detail that I feel almost qualified to be a lawyer. Please don’t misread that for sarcasm. Other legal thrillers I’ve read skim over important facts and it results in the book becoming less believable and the storyline starts growing holes. It was nice to be able to really feel like I was right there with Jake and the team, caught up in the excitement of the trial.
There might be a lot of legal information in the pages of this book, but that doesn’t mean it is a slow-moving read. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The story moves forward quickly without losing detail or the chapters feeling disconnected. Plus, there are also some side storylines: the opioid crisis in the US and Jake’s blossoming relationship with his teenage crush. Saying that, Law and Addiction does very much veer on the legal side rather than the emotional. Be prepared for that if it is your first time delving into the legal thriller genre.
Finally, the author is a lawyer himself, and is used to working on cases similar to this. Therefore, this is an extremely well-researched book but not just on the legal side, but in reference to the opioid crisis too. It was pointed out to me in the past how badly some authors write about the crisis; they state the obvious, throw it in just to diss the US, presume that readers have absolutely no clue as to what is going on. Law and Addiction does the opposite. It treats the reader like an intelligent person, deciding to go into detail which is not generally public knowledge.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.