Ok, got another book for you. In preparation for our reviews rebirth, I went on Amazon and bought a few popular books for my Kindle in the thriller genre. TRIAL JUNKIES, a legalish crime thriller by Robert Gregory Browne, was high on the bestsellers list and my first pick.
Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:
“Ethan “Hutch” Hutchinson hasn’t seen his old college pals in nearly ten years. Now fate has brought them together again as one of the gang is put on trial for a brutal, senseless murder. The Chicago police and prosecutor think they have their perp, but Hutch isn’t about to sit silently in a courtroom as someone he cares about is wrongfully convicted. When Hutch and his friends join forces to search for the real killer, what they find shatters every notion they have about friendship, loss and redemption, and may very well cost Hutch—and the woman he loves—their lives.”
Sounded decent, the reviews were good and the price was cheap. Three criteria I look for when trying out prostitutes or books from authors I have never been exposed to. But I’ve been burned before by books (and prostitutes) that matched those same qualifiers but luckily TRIAL JUNKIES wasn’t one of them. Two days after I started reading I was finished, having spent every spare moment I had tearing through the book.
When I say TRIAL JUNKIES is “legalish” I mean that while a lot of the story takes place in the courtroom during a murder trial, the legal proceedings are not complicated and the jousting between the prosecution and defense are not on the level of a John Grisham or Scott Turow novel. The criminal proceedings in TRIAL JUNKIES, and the lawyer fanangling that goes along with it, are on the level of any decent LAW AND ORDER episode.
That’s not a slight towards the book or the author, as I love the show and, occasionally, I don’t want to feel like I’m in law school while reading a legal thriller. Besides, the real meat involves Hutch and company as they do their own amateur investigative work outside of the courthouse in an attempt to, hopefully, prove their friend is not a murderer while, at the same time, tracking down the person they feel is the actual killer.
If I had any complaints at all, it would be the title and setting of the book leads one to believe that the main focus would explore the psychology of the people who spend their days floating between one court’s public gallery to another. Not that I see anything wrong with it, as I probably would too if I had the chance. I find crime, as well as their legal proceedings, as fascinating as a lot of other people— as evident by this site’s popularity.
But this is only touched on lightly and this being the first book in a series, I’m guessing it’s just the method in which new cases will be introduced in future installments. I think that’s a pretty good idea. Legal thrillers that do not surround a detective or lawyer investigating a case, but rather someone hooked on watching trials. If that’s true or not, I think the book is better for leaving out that kind of psychology and focusing only on the legal proceedings and the hunt for a killer, leaving TRIAL JUNKIES free from fat and unnecessary filler.
It also helps that it has just the right amount of engaging characters (including an interesting lead), red herrings, and twists to keep you repeating, “Ok, one more chapter then I’ll feed the kids,” before finally tossing keys to the whining 10-year-old and instructing him to go to McDonald’s drive-thru himself. (He was fine, but I did make him go back for the straw they left out.)
This was my first book by Browne and, as I mentioned, the first in a series of books to involve these characters. I enjoyed it enough, especially at the low price of $3.99, that I’ll be sure to check out the next books in this new series and, if I have the time, his past work as well.