Audiobook Review: Breach of Trust by David Ellis

16 02 2011

Breach of Trust by David Ellis

Read by Luke Daniels

Brilliance Audio

Genre: Legal Thriller

Quick Thought: A complex, and intriguing tale of political corruption handled well by both author and narrator.

Grade: B


I love Legal Thrillers? Mostly what I like about them is the brisk courtroom scenes where opposing lawyers present their cases and chop down witnesses. Yet, more often than not today, Legal Thrillers have basically turned into “Detectives with a Bar card” novels. Even for a legal thriller with actually courtroom scenes, you rarely get to an actual verdict. What you usually get is the Lawyer cum detective discovering a game changing new fact that ends the trial in spectacular fashion, which is fun and all, but every once in a while it would be nice to actually get to the end of a trial. Oh, well, just a bit of a pet peeve for me. With that peeve in mind, I tentatively began Breach of Trust. Ellis is one of those legal fiction writers who is an actual lawyer, and a prominent one at that. I have enjoyed his novels in the past, yet they tended to fall more into the Lawyer Detective category than the Courtroom warrior type which I enjoy more.

Breach of Trust does actually start off with a bit of courtroom action, and well done action at that. Lawyer Jason Kolarich does a fine job ripping apart the State’s cooperating witness in a murder/extortion trial of a State Senator, and heck, we even get to a verdict. Yet, after the initial courtroom shenanigans, Breach of Trust takes a dramatic turn. What we have after the opening is an intriguing look at government corruption. Breach of Trust takes place in a Chicago like city, so it’s no surprise that there is corruption. Ellis does an excellent job detailing the play for pay style political corruption that has plagued many cities like my own ethically questionable Philadelphia. The plotting is intricate and complicated, yet, when things start to seem like they are going to get bogged down in the minutiae of a white collar corruption case,  Ellis throws in a bit of action, or a twist to keep things interesting. While not the typical legal thriller, Ellis offers a compelling storyline with a fascinating and complex lead character. The ending is satisfying and filled with a few surprises that actually do surprise.

I was a little worried with Luke Daniel’s narration. Recently Daniel’s did an excellent job with Robert Crais’ The Sentry but the beginning of this novel, he sounded robotic. Yet, as the story began to get more fleshed out, Daniels voice began to flow with the pace of the story. As usual, he handles characters well and never overpowers the story, which is important for a tale with such complexity. All in all, Breach of Trust is a winner for Ellis and a recommended listen for those who like legal thrillers or anyone who is fascinated by true corruption investigations like those in Philadelphia, or everyone’s favorite ummmm.. “celebrity” Rod Blagojevich.



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