The Last Chance Lawyer by William Bernhardt [7/10]

A prolific author of thrillers, poetry, writer how-tos, William Bernhardt has returned to legal thrillers, and as my first foray into this sub-genre, my reaction was one of “read it in two sittings” delight. “The Last Chance Lawyer” has a nifty conceit at its core: after bouncy, smart trial lawyer Daniel Pike loses his job, he gets picked up by a small outfit, run by a mysterious Mr. K, a team that tackles pro bono cases for those left well behind by the law. In this first outing (thankfully there will be more), Pike and allies defend a female Florida gang member against an open-and-shut murder charge, the backdrop being that they need to save her in order to save a young girl from ill-fated deportation. I enjoyed the intricate legal system details (after all, that’s one of the joys of this sub-genre, the world you’re dropped into), the byzantine plot (more twists than Perry Mason), and Bernhard’s breezy style.

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