Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Legal Thrillers

I'm not a big fan of legal thrillers (unless you count Erle Stanley Gardner's books), but I read one every now and then. I'm about a third of the way through THE ASSOCIATE by Phillip Margolin, an author I've never read before. That's about as vague and generic a title as you can find, but the book itself isn't bad. Margolin's style isn't flashy at all, strictly meat-and-potatoes prose, and there's not much characterization, but he has enough storytelling ability to keep me turning the pages. This book reminds me a little of Stuart Woods' work, before Woods descended into the morass that is the Stone Barrington series. (Obligatory cheap shot at the Stone Barrington books, which I really, really don't like.)

Anyway, I'm looking for recommendations of good authors of legal thrillers. I started a few of John Grisham's early books but never finished them because the plot holes bothered me. The only one I made it all the way through was THE TESTAMENT. Grisham may have improved over the years. I tried one of Steve Martini's novels but didn't care for it at all. Other than that, I'm pretty much ignorant of the field. I own a couple of books by John Lescroat but have never read them.

Oddly enough, though I've never read that much legal fiction, I tend to enjoy legal shows on television. I watched THE PRACTICE faithfully, even when it got silly, and now watch and enjoy the spin-off, BOSTON LEGAL. I have to admit, though, I have a soft spot for Willam Shatner and he looks like he's really getting a kick out of his role. James Spader is very good, too.

But I didn't like ALLY McBEAL. That was one show I just never got.


Unknown said...

How about Gardner's Perry Mason books? I'll bet you've read those. I guess they're not legal thrillers, though. I don't read legal thrillers, either. I read a couple of Grisham's books and quit for the same reason you did. Well, that and the fact that his endings bite the moose. I really didn't like Scott Trurow's first book, so I never tried another one. I probably wasn't meant to read legal thrillers.

Graham Powell said...

How about the Mairead O'Clare series by "Terry Devane" (Jeremiah Healy). I've never read any, but if Healy wrote them they must be good.

Frank Denton said...

I don't read legal thrillers either but I did read one by Scott Turow. Unlike Bill, I rather liked it. But they just aren't my favorite type of book.