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Tuesday 25 November 2014

‘The Wrong Man’ by David Ellis

Published by Quercus, 2013.
ISBN: 978-1-78087-791-4

Jason Kolarich is a lawyer practising in what appears to be, if not Chicago, somewhere very like it. He specialises in defence work relying on meticulous case preparation and his advocacy skills in often apparently hopeless cases to win the day. One such case is that of homeless Iraq veteran Tom Stoller who is accused of the execution-style shooting of young paralegal Kathy Rubinowski. Tom is suffering from schizophrenia triggered by PTSD arising from his wartime experiences. He cannot account for why he has the murder weapon nor Kathy’s purse, mobile and necklace. He is so traumatised that he can barely speak coherently, let alone anything that might help his defence. He just wants the trial to be over quickly. Jason, however, is not convinced of Tom’s guilt; he feels there is more to Kathy’s murder than meets the eye, that the police have arrested the wrong man. With his team, Shauna Tasker, Bradley John, and Joel Lightner and also the chance-met attractive Tori Martin, Jason sets out to get at the truth behind Kathy‘s killing.

Meanwhile a would-be client of Jason’s, Lorenzo Fowler, who has Mob connections and who has hinted to Jason of assassinations, is also murdered - another execution-style shooting. The gun is different to that used to murder Kathy but Jason wonders if the two killings could be connected. At first apparently not until Jason’s team discover a link between a case that Kathy was working on and a firm selling artificial fertiliser with a somewhat iffy background. And behind all that is a conspiracy of right-wing fanatics intent on wreaking massive destruction in the city.

This is a gripping story with interesting and well-drawn characters and a fascinating legal setting with which the author, himself a lawyer who has been compared to John Grisham, is clearly deeply familiar. I found the similarities and the differences between the US and English legal systems particularly fascinating. The courtroom scenes are exceptionally well crafted. Recommended.
Reviewer: Radmila May
Other books by David Ellis include Breach of Trust, Jury of One and In the Company of Liars.

David Ellis  is a lawyer and award-winning author of nine novels. Dave currently lives near Chicago with his wife Susan, their children Abigail, Julia, and Jonathan, and their pug, Otis.

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