Audiobook Review: A Conflict of Interest by Adam Mitzner

3 01 2012

A Conflict of Interest by Adam Mitzner

Read by David LeDoux

Audible Inc.

Length: 11 Hrs 33 Min

Genre: Legal Thriller

Quick Thoughts: A Conflict of Interest is a great debut with a lot of hidden depths, taking on a myriad of topics which all come together in a smooth way never pulling down the plot with unnecessary clutter. Mitzner has created a great legal thriller which should satisfy legal junkies like myself while offering a surprisingly emotional tale of the secret struggles of families.

Grade: B+

I think it’s appropriate for my first audiobook review of 2012 to be that of a debut author. A Conflict of Interest is the first novel by lawyer turned novelist Adam Mitzner. Since this is not the 1990’s I will not be declaring him the next John Grisham or Scott Turow as it seemed every new legal thriller novelist was called back then. Legal thrillers are one of my favorite subgenres, and also perhaps the subgenre I judge the most harshly. I am looking for something specific when I read a legal thriller. If I want international intrigue, I will choose one of many authors who specialize in espionage thrillers like Daniel Silva or Brett Battles. If I want a straight up crime detective story I will turn to Robert Crais or Walter Mosely. So, for legal thrillers, I am looking for, well legal fiction. I like seeing legal maneuverings, courtroom dealings, trial strategy, and even a touch of politics whether governmental or internal. I love Courtroom scenes, but I can live without them, grudgingly, if your lawyer main character’s story is routed in the law, and not just some detective with a bar card. I have read a lot of legal thrillers, and can become a bit curmudgeonly about them if they transform into some sort of by the numbers thriller centered around a guy who just happens to be a lawyer. Luckily, after listening to A Conflict of Interest, I was left feeling lively and youthful, my inner angry old man as happy as if he just completed the early bird buffet.

At his father’s funeral, New York Litigator Alex Miller is approached by a friend of his father named Michael Ohlig and told that he may need legal help. Ohlig runs a brokerage firm that is being investigated for possible fraud. Miller takes the case, not knowing that this simple, obvious decision will have life altering ramifications both personally and professionally. As far as my criteria for legal thrillers, Mitzner hits all the right notes. He does an excellent job detailing the intricacies of preparing for a high profile white collar crime litigation within the confines of a major law firm. Mitzner pays excellent attention to detail in outlining the steps he takes to defend his client. Ohlig is not a likeable figure at all, and makes matters even more complicated for Miller. Eventually, all the preparing leads to a solid courtroom sequence, full of interesting twists and surprises. Now, if you are looking for some Perry Masoneque legal tale, with huge game changing trial twists, you won’t get them here. There are surprises yes, but they are realistic twists which make sense within the background presented. Yet, Conflict of Interest is more than just a legal thriller. Mitzner does an excellent job outlining an emotionally adulterous relationship. He doesn’t shy away from  the harm and devastation such relationships can cause and takes the ramifications of such an affair to interesting and surprising places. A Conflict of Interest is a great debut with a lot of hidden depths, taking on a myriad of topics which all come together in a smooth way never pulling down the plot with unnecessary clutter. Mitzner has created a great legal thriller which should satisfy legal junkies like myself while offering a surprisingly emotional tale of the secret struggles of families. 

This is the first audiobook I have listened to narrated by David LeDoux, which is surprising since he has narrated a number of high profile titles. LeDoux has a solid, straight forward reading style which works perfectly for a legal thriller. His crisp tone is just right for the intricacies of such a novel where any little bit of information can become of momentous importance. He reads with a clear, strong pace, capturing the staging of a trial very well. I also thing he did an excellent job with the voices of the characters. LeDoux understood in this reading that he needed no extra bells and whistles, just a strong straightforward reading. A Conflict of Interest was just the type of legal thriller I enjoy, and I hope to see more from this author in the future.

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One response

3 01 2012
Jen Forbus

So glad to hear this is a good one. I really want to read and/or listen to it!

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