Reading Suggestions

Find your next great read here

John Grisham readadlikes

Leave a comment

Although he established his reputation with fast-paced David-versus-Goliath legal thrillers, John Grisham’s recent work includes nonfiction and short stories and displays a distinctly darker outlook when writing about the law. His non-legal novels address coming-of-age issues and are more intimate and heartening. Issue-oriented storylines drive all his cinematic tales filled with engaging, sympathetic characters, dangerous secrets, and relentless pacing. His earlier legal thrillers are less provocative; more recent titles explore political and legal issues without  Hollywood endings. Grisham has also written a legal thriller series for older kids.

Printer-friendly version

a

a

a

Authors and Series

Joseph Amiel

About A Question of Proof: Renowned defense attorney Dan Lazar must defend his lover, Susan, against charges that she murdered her husband, but even Dan is not sure that he believes her.

Jay Brandon

About the Chris Sinclair series: Finally putting Malachi Reese, a revered leader of San Antonio’s African American community, on Death Row, District Attorney Chris Sinclair becomes the target of Reese’s threats from behind bars as he struggles to cope with a series of seemingly unrelated crimes.

a

a

a

a

a

a

Dudley Buffa

About the Joseph Antonelli series: Defense attorney Joseph Antonelli thinks he is taking on another routine case when he defends Johnny Morel, who is accused of raping his stepdaughter, but the case ends with a murder.

a

a

a

a

a

a

Michael Connelly.  Mickey Haller series.

L.A. defense attorney Mickey Haller, whose “office” is the back seat of his car, usually defends small-time criminals. Occasionally, though, clients turn up who are accused of larger crimes–and who just might be innocent. But if Haller gets too close to the truth, he may find himself the real criminals’ next target…

a

a

a

a

a

a

Rose Connors   

About the Marty Nickerson series: Martha Nickerson, assistant district attorney in Cape Cod, wins a high profile case, only to discover that she may have put the wrong man behind bars and a twisted killer is still at large.

a

a

a

a

a

a

William Coughlin.  Charley Sloan series.

Eager to regain lost prestige, suspended and nearly disbarred attorney Charley Sloane agrees to defend a former lover’s stepdaughter, charged with murdering her wealthy father, despite the fact that she has already confessed to authorities.

a

a

a

a

a

Alan Dershowitz

About The Advocate’s Devil: Taking the case of a professional basketball player accused of rape, a high-powered defense attorney is confident that he can win, but struggles with the morality of defending a client who may be guilty.

a

a

a

a

a

a

David Ellis

About The Hidden Man: Hired by an anonymous client to defend a man charged with the vigilante murder of an alleged kidnapper, attorney Jason Kolarich is astonished to learn that the suspect is his estranged childhood best friend, a situation that is complicated by threats against Jason’s safety.

a

a

a

a

a

a

Linda Fairstein.

Linda A. Fairstein’s Alexandra Cooper novels offer dangerous, intriguing puzzles filled with gritty forensic and fascinating historical details.  Her suspenseful Legal Thrillers combine solid investigative work with atmospheric settings involving historic locations in New York City.  Like real-life DAs, Alex and her partners are responsible for several cases at a time.  They are well-rounded characters whose camaraderie (along with Alex’s more private interior life) provides contrast to the intensity of the investigations.  Legal questions and procedures fill these provocative and fast-paced thrillers, along with suspense and danger, including Alex’s personal jeopardy. 

a

a

a

a

George Dawes Green

About The Juror: Annie Laird is Juror 224. A sculptor with a career going nowhere. A single mother struggling to raise a son. A good citizen who has been summoned to what looks like a routine tour of civic duty. But the trial she is called to serve on is no ordinary trial. It is a mob trial, whose outcome has been meticulously orchestrated by a man of insidious power and deadly precision. A man who lives by the teachings of Lao Tsu … whose magnetism is irresistible … whose mind is as brilliant as it is twisted. He is known to some as the Teacher, and he’s set his sights on Annie Laird. Pulled into the most chilling depths of the criminal underworld, Annie will be seduced by double-edged promises, stalked by the specter of terror, then, finally, driven to a shocking decision by the most basic motivation a woman can know.

a

a

a

a

James Grippando.  Jack Swyteck series.

Whether it’s a Jack Swyteck legal thriller or one of his fast-paced stand-alone thrillers, James Grippando’s suspense novels feature likable heroes battling contemporary evils (corrupt politicians or lawyers, greedy corporations) in dangerous-to-near-impossible situations from which they must not only extricate themselves but often others as well. The inclusion of true-to-life investigative details (often including long-buried secrets) makes the conspiracies and corruption chillingly believable. With strong language and explicit violence, growing unease that builds into a nail-biting climax, and multiple plot twists, not to mention the real-world settings, Grippando is a provocative writer.

a

a

a

a

Jilliane Hoffman

Jillian Hoffman draws on her experience as a former public prosecutor to add vivid and realistic detail to her gritty legal thrillers. In her novels, lawyers and detectives confront sadistic killers and ruthless felons — their grotesque crimes are described in chillingly explicit detail. Her gripping and suspenseful novels are full of mysterious twists, fast-paced action, and introspective portraits of the victims and killers written in clear, direct prose.

a

a

a

a

a

Michael Kahn. Rachel Gold series.

Rachael Gold, a lawyer, is hired to investigate a mysterious forty thousand dollar trust fund set up to maintain the grave of an unknown pet named Canaan.

a

a

a

a

a

a

William Lashner

About Blood and Bone: Enjoying a life of minimal responsibility after botching a promising athletic career, Kyle is wrongfully implicated in the murder of his father’s former law partner and finds himself questioned about his father’s own death twelve years earlier, pitting him against powerful forces in his efforts to clear his name.

a

a

a

a

a

a

John Lescroart

John T. Lescroart is best known for Legal Thrillers that offer readers the best of two worlds: catchy police procedural details and edge-of-the-chair courtroom action. Lescroart creates vibrant characters to whom readers relate, like the glib attorney and dour police detective who star in his Dismas Hardy series. Complex plots treat provocative issues of law, corruption, politics, and personal issues; secondary characters are pulled into multiple cases, exhausting investigations, and outstanding courtroom drama. Surprising humor also emerges, despite a gritty (often dark) urban setting. Historical mysteries and an autobiographical novel comprise Lescroart’s earlier writing.

a

a

a

a

Steve Martini

Legal thriller writer Steve Martini has built his reputation on the Paul Madriani series of “legal procedurals,” dramas written in the police procedural tradition, in which courtroom scenes are often integral. He is also the author of several standalone thrillers. California native Martini’s past practice of law and journalism in that state gives his fast-paced and twist-filled plots the weight of veracity, in turn sharpening the keenness of his observations. Martini often ventures outside the courtroom to other arenas, like publishing and counterterrorism, typically exploring legal aspects as his characters evade danger, untangling the central mystery.

a

a

a

a

a

Perri O’Shaughnessy.  Nina Reilly series.

Perri O’Shaughnessy — a writing team of two sisters — produces gripping, fast-moving legal thrillers that feature great story-telling, vividly painted locales, and plots and characters that are complex, layered, believable, and surprising. Their series star is lawyer and divorced mother Nina Reilly, an unpredictable attorney dedicated to justice who hates criminal cases but always seems to take them . . . especially when it means fighting the old boy network on behalf of a female underdog. Nina is flawed but driven and talented; her character develops over the series.

a

a

a

a

Barbara Parker

Former prosecuting attorney Barbara Parker writes mysteries featuring Florida culture and a dark and menacing atmosphere at odds with the state’s sunny image. Her novels combine complex, tangled plots with intriguing characters in compelling investigative stories which blend romance, politics, social issues, and danger. Parker’s dialog-filled stories move quickly, even as relationships between characters mature over time. While Parker’s novels often feature lawyers, the stories are not true legal thrillers, as the legal details are seldom as important as the investigative techniques used to get to the bottom of a problem.

a

a

a

a

Richard North Patterson

Attorney Richard North Patterson moves in and out of the courtroom with his mysteries, creating tales with well-realized characters that are compelling to readers.  Inspired by the work of Ross Macdonald, Patterson’s novels bring believable characters, plots, and circumstances together in an engaging way.

a

a

a

a

a

a

Barry Siegel

About The Perfect Witness: They used to be partners-Greg Monarch and Ira Sullivan, a couple of do-good lawyers. But it has all gone bad for Ira. Bad enough that he wakes up in jail one day staring at a death sentence for murder. And he can’t remember if he’s the killer. Only Greg Monarch has a prayer of getting him off-if he’s willing to cross certain ethical lines.

a

a

a

a

a

Sheldon Siegel

About the Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez series:  A novel exposing the ins and outs of big law firms follows ex-priest-turned-attorney Mike Daley as he is asked to defend one of his former colleagues at a prestigious San Francisco law firm after he is accused of the murders of two other lawyers at the firm.

a

a

a

a

a

Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline combines her legal expertise with investigative details and suspenseful woman-in-jeopardy tales, leavened with humor and witty dialog.  In both her Rosato and Associates novels and her stand-alones, memorable characterizations combine with a strong sense of place in the Philadelphia settings.  Vibrant characters come alive through her vivid descriptions and dialogue, and the stories feature more than the professional lives of these lawyers.  Investigation, rather than courtroom scenes, drives these stories, but there is plenty of legal detail.  Complex, dangerous cases provide plenty of suspense, keeping readers turning pages right to the satisfying conclusion.

a

a

a

a

Robert K. Tanenbaum

Robert Tanenbaum writes suspenseful investigative stories that focus on the criminal justice system. More than mysteries, not exactly legal thrillers, these complex moral tales feature spouses Butch Karp and Marlene Ciampi. Details abound in the realistic, issue-oriented yet family-centered stories, and there are usually multiple storylines, which may or may not converge. Each story deals with serious issues and the novels project a darker tone, but they are not without humor. The dense language makes them slower reading, but they are also cinematic, engrossing tales that draw readers in with the provocative storylines and compelling characters.

a

a

a

a

Scott Turow

Scott Turow’s widely popular legal thrillers raise important questions of morality, truth, and justice through the character development in his elegantly written novels. Turow offers recurring characters in his novels set in fictional Kindle County in a Midwestern state, with a landscape and politics reminiscent of Cook County and Chicago, Illinois. Most of his novels are narrated in the first person. His writing is filled with smart, authentic dialog, compelling characters, provocative plots, and issue-oriented story lines.

 

Stand-alone books

Robert Daley. Tainted Evidence.

When a heavily armed drug-dealing murder suspect, holed up in an abandoned building in Harlem, shoots five officers in a botched police raid, the Manhattan district attorney’s office has what appears to be an open-and-shut case. The aging district attorney passes over his politically ambitious chief assistant to assign the high-profile case to Karen Henning, the smart, young head of the trial division with a reputation for fierce independence. But the seemingly straightforward ease, bogged down in the often-corrupt criminal justice system, explodes when New York City’s racial unrest is sparked by the suspect’s lawyer, a famous civil rights attorney and an expert at media manipulation. While others see the turmoil as an opportunity or threat to their political futures, Henning must baffle the city’s political machinations to try the case with any hope of success. Simultaneously, she struggles to keep her family together despite her growing attraction to a cop who is one of her principal witnesses.

Philip Friedman. Grand Jury.

Featuring the personal odyssey of two grand jurors, David Clark and Susan Linwood, and ranging from the intimate streets of Chinatown and New York’s downtown court district, to the sleek high rises of Hong Kong and a deserted highway in China where the construction dust is mixed with blood, and back to the closely guarded offices of the DA’s Official Corruption Unit, Grand Jury is a towering novel of corruption, conspiracy and courage that reaches all the way to the highest levels of U.S. and Chinese officialdom. It is a work of many parts and many levels, challenging the reader to take a trip into a new and threatening world where even angels might fear to tread.

Tim Green.  False Convictions.

Casey Jordan is counting on an open-and-shut case, a sure success for her first effort with the Freedom Project, the renowned charity group dedicated to helping exonerate wrongfully convicted prisoners. Not only is the Freedom Project giving Casey the chance to help innocent people, but its founder, Robert Graham, is offering Casey a one-million-dollar annual pledge to her legal clinic for taking on just two jobs a year.  Her first assignment is to revive the case of Dwayne Hubbard, an indigent black man serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of a college student seventeen years ago. Using DNA evidence, Casey expects to easily prove Hubbard’s innocence. Yet when she arrives in rural Auburn, New York, she meets immediate and aggressive resistance.  Tormented by death threats and assassination attempts, Casey investigates a prosecution apparently rife with lies. From the judge, the lawyers, the jury, to the police, she traces a web of corruption surrounding the destruction of one young man. But in all the chaos, Casey’s hardest challenge may be just staying alive.

a

a

a

Greg Iles.  Quiet Game.

Penn Cage is no stranger to death. As a Houston prosecutor he sent sixteen men to death row, and watched seven of them die. But now, in the aftermath of his wife’s death, the grief-stricken father packs up his four-year-old daughter, Annie, and returns to his hometown in search of healing. But peace is not what he finds there. Determined to save his father from a ruthless blackmailer, Penn stumbles over a link to the town’s darkest secret: the thirty-year-old unsolved murder of a black Korean War veteran. But what drives him to act is the revelation that this haunting mystery is inextricably bound up with his own past. Under a blaze of national media attention, Penn reopens the case, only to find local records destroyed, the FBI file sealed, and the town closing ranks against him. Penn joins forces with Caitlin Masters, a beautiful young newspaper publisher, on a quest that will lead from the bayous of the South to the highest reaches of the U.S. government. His need to right a terrible wrong pits him against the FBI, the powerful judge who nearly destroyed his family, and his most dangerous adversary: a woman he loved more than twenty years before, and who haunts him still.

a

a

John Katzenbach.  Hart’s War.

Second Lieutenant Tommy Hart, the navigator whose B-25 was shot out of the sky in 1942, is burdened with guilt as the only surviving member of his crew. Now he is just another kriegie (“war captured”) at the fiercely guarded Stalag Luft 13 in Bavaria. Then routine comes to a halt with the arrival of a new prisoner: First Lieutenant Lincoln Scott, an African American Tuskegee airman who instantly becomes the target of contempt from his fellow soldiers. His most notable adversary is Vincent Bedford, a decorated bomber captain from Mississippi. The hatred between the two men is as volatile as a grenade ready to be detonated. When a prisoner is brutally murdered, and all the blood-soaked evidence points to Scott, Hart is tapped to defend the soldier, who steadfastly claims his innocence. Yet from the start, Hart senses he has been chosen merely to make a show of defending the accused in what is presumed to be an open-and-shut case. In a trial rife with racial tension and raw conflict, where the lines between ally and enemy blur, there are those with their own secret motives – and a burning passion for a rush to judgment; no matter the cost.

a

a

Brad Meltzer. The Tenth Justice.

Fresh from Yale Law, Ben Addison is a new clerk for one of the Supreme Court’s most respected justices. Along with his co-clerk, Lisa, Ben represents the best of the fledgling legal community: sharp, perfectionistic, and painstakingly conscientious – but just as green. So when he inadvertently reveals the confidential outcome of an upcoming Court decision, and one of the parties to the case makes millions, Ben starts to sweat. Big time. Ben confides in Lisa and turns to his D.C. housemates for help. They offer their coveted insiders’ access – Nathan works at the State Department, Eric reports for a Washington daily, and Ober is an assistant to a leading senator – to help outsnake the blackmailer who holds Ben’s once-golden future hostage. But it’s not long before these inseparable pals discover how dangerous their misuse of power can be, even when accompanied by the very best of intentions. And when a suspicious leak develops from within their own circle, Ben and his friends find themselves pitted against each other in a battle of shifting alliances and fierce deceptions that strikes to the weaknesses in their friendships, threatens to ruin their careers – and ultimately may cost them their lives.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s