Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Shotgun Lawyer by Victor Methos

First Sentence:  This was it.
            
Peter Game is an ambulance chaser, a personal injury lawyer who takes the cases no one else will in order to make a quick buck, but who dreams of the big score.  Melissa Bell is the mother of a 7-year-old school-shooting victim.  In spite of the law, Bell wants Peter to sue the manufacturer of the gun used to kill her son, six other children, and a teacher.  Standing against Peter are the opposing attorney, Brennen Garvin, the gun lobbies, and the entire legal system.   
      
Those who follow the discussions on gun laws and the rights of those, directly or indirectly, harmed by guns may know--"The law was clear:  gun manufacturers were in no way responsible for what people did with their guns."  Yet Game begins with the assertion that cases against gun manufacturers can be won—"These gun guys, what they're scared of is publicity, not having to pay out money.  … if a lawyer goes to them and signs and NDS and keeps everything quiet, they'd rather settle than have another case in the papers.  Even if they win."
      
Methos walks one down the path of how things happen, including the way in which those who shouldn't be able to buy guns are able to obtain them.  He explains the whole process of strawmen, or scarecrows—people who go into stores and buy quantities of guns for people who can't legally purchase them. 
      
Stories which deal with the law are fascinating but can also be confusing for non-lawyers.  Methos explains each of the terms and aspects in a way which can be easily understood without slowing down the pace of the story. 
      
This is such a wonderfully current book.  It is one some people won't like and possibly may not read.  But others will read it and cheer for the characters and the subject.  The gamesmanship, from both sides of the aisle, that goes on is rather astonishing and not something about which the average person would even consider or be aware.  If one is called to serve on a jury, which is a fascinating experience, one may look at it with different eyes.
      
Methos clearly conveys the nerves a lawyer may experience the night before a jury case.  At the same time, he offsets it well with the complications in Peter's life.  The situation with Peter's son provides a good balance to the focus on the legal case. 
      
There is a very well-done scene of Peter hitting bottom, surging to a "Rocky" moment, and being knocked down again. Things such as that truly humanize the character.
      
"The Shotgun Lawyer" is a terrific read with an ending which is realistic.  The next time one is considering reading legal suspense, consider walking past the usual names and try Methos instead.  He doesn't disappoint.
     
THE SHOTGUN LAWYER (LegalSusp-Peter Game (née James)-Utah-Contemp - VG
      Methos, Victor - Standalone
      Thomas & Mercer – Oct 2018

3 comments:

  1. What a timely novel this seems to be! And it sounds as though it raises all sorts of important issues about the impact of gun violence. I'm glad you thought it was well-written.

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  2. I can't quite believe I'd not read him before as he's been fairly prolific. I've now added him to my list of authors to follow.

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