WHY: “John Grisham fans won’t want to miss this one.
“Prominent Virginia attorney Kevin Moore, the narrator of this exceptional legal thriller from Martin Clark, is reduced to working in a fast-food sandwich shop after a drug and alcohol binge led to the suspension of his law license and the end of his marriage. He’s hoping to keep his head down and wait for reinstatement, but his life is upended when he’s approached at the sandwich shop by a stranger who calls himself Caleb.
“Caleb represents an organization that monitors the information received by ‘virtually every group with a disciplinary board’ to identify people vulnerable to being coerced into participating in a fraud scheme. In Kevin’s case, Caleb asks him to agree to a lie — that he committed malpractice a few years earlier by failing to execute a purchase order for land that cost a client millions. When Kevin refuses, he’s set up for a probation violation and framed for even more serious charges.
“Clark does a masterly job combining Kevin’s plans to get himself out from under with a powerful portrayal of human frailty.” –PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, a starred review
“Deeply satisfying. Martin Clark is not nearly as well known as he should be. A retired Virginia circuit court judge, he knows his way around the system, using the law as a foundation for novels that never rely too heavily on action or courtroom pyrotechnics. Instead, he explores the rural South and the people who live there. He writes with hilarious insight about subjects that include but are not limited to the legal and medical professions, trucks with ‘Southern by birth, Rebel by the Grace of God’ bumper stickers, and the impossibility of the presumption of innocence for anyone who has ever been arrested.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS
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FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK:
I was an excellent lawyer, as honest and effective as you could ever want, and I’m a decent enough person, and despite my mistakes, which — I concede — were hellacious, I deserve better than this misery.
It’s the middle of June, hot and stagnant, especially behind the counter here in the restaurant, a Subway knock-off called SUBstitution, and the heat will soon become worse because Luther, the owner, insists that we switch on the old oven for a few minutes at noon and then again at six, as if we were really baking fresh bread. Twice daily, when the biggest lunch and dinner crowds are waiting in line, I cover my hand with a mitt and slowly slide the store-bought decoys out of the oven, a sham show that allows a two-hundred-degree belch to escape and loiter and clot the air. Sometimes, to entertain myself, I quick-drop the lukewarm silver tray, pull off the mitt and shake and blow my fingers. The fake-bake dries and hardens the prop rolls, but I’m able to stash them in the refrigerator and use them over and over, for weeks, until the first greenish-gray mold spots appear.