THE COLOUR OF LAW by Mark Gimenez

I don't think you'll find this in bookshops, as my other half picked it up as a free "promotional copy" from somewhere or other.  It claims that Gimenez is the "new Grisham", which didn't encourage me as I've never been much of a Grisham fan.
   That said, the book starts promisingly.  It draws a (probably stereotyped)picture of a rich Californian lawyer and shows how, against his will, he's drawn in to represent a black, heroin-addicted prostitute.  There's pressure to get him off the case, but he reacts badly to it, fighting the polictiacl powres-that-be, losing his job, wife and most of the frills of his life into the bargain.  I was quite enjoying the story at this point, apart from a) continuous references to American football and how the fact that our hero had been a legendary footballer gave him the guts to stand up to the powers trying to take him down and b) an irritating habit of the author to make everyone refer to everyone else by name, in practically every line of dialogue.
   "Bart!  How are you?"
   "Oh, you know, Rosie."
   "No, Bart, tell me."
   "Well, Rosie, I'm sick and tired of using your name every time I speak to you."
   But after the promising first half, I felt the book rather fell to pieces.  On the spur of the moment our hero realises that the prostitute couldn't have carried out the murder because she was left-handed, and then he solves the mystery of who did even more on the spur of the moment, actually in the courtroom cross-examining a witness.  The prostitute is found not guilty, the bad guys are taken down, our hero gets his job offered back but he declines and sets up a business helping the down-and-outs legally, and apparently lives happily ever after.  All this in a chapter or so tacked on the end.
   In short, I can see why this is a promotional copy.  Double its length, iron out some writing flaws and sentimentality, and it really could be a best seller.  But as it stands, I don't recommend it.
add comment | read comments (0) 2010-08-24