Audiobook Review: The Conviction by Robert Dugoni

25 07 2012

The Conviction by Robert Dugoni (David Sloan, Bk. 5)

Read by Dan John Miller

Brilliance Audio

Length: 12 Hrs 5 Min

Genre: Legal Thriller

Quick Thoughts: In The Conviction, Robert Dugoni is on top of his game, presenting us a tale of corruption and blatant disregard for the law by some of the most despicable antagonists I have come across in legal fiction. The Conviction is thrilling and disturbing, with some surprised twists that should keep seasoned mystery readers guessing, while others not even realizing they should be guessing.

Grade: B+

Sometimes I think I watch and read too many legal thrillers. One of the problems, particularly with TV, is this tendency for ripped from the headlines plotting. Now, I don’t think there is anything wrong with real life events influencing fiction, and I often find it interesting to see how the writers will twist a real life event into a 48 minute TV show, with some thrown in twists and interesting angles. The problem comes when real life events influence multiple TV shows, books, movies, puppet shows and narocorridos. Back in the day, I used to watch so much Law & Order that I would win bets against housemates by telling them an outline of the plots of an episode and who the perpetrator was, based solely on the opening scenes. Now, often times, I will annoy myself, because I will see an episode of Law & Order that is focused on some real life event, then within the next few months, I will see 3 or 4 other shows who also take on the event. Then, about a year later, I will read a book that again draws on the same plot. What annoys me most of all, is sometimes I am not even away of the real life event that inspired the shows, I just assume there must have been one since so many shows did there own twist on the event. Yet, every once in a while, I will come upon a show, that I assume is based on the same real life event, and suddenly, it will split off into something entirely unexpected. I like surprises like this.

In The Conviction, attorney David Sloan, known as the lawyer who never loses, is faced with one of the more challenging tasks of his life, getting through to his troubled teenage step son. Still shaken by the death of his mother, Jake Carter is in a downward spiral of alcohol abuse and violent behavior. Sloan reaches out to him, and along with his friend Tom Molina and Tom’s 14 year old some TJ, they head out on a camping trip. Yet, Jake manages to get himself and TJ in trouble, and railroaded by a megalomaniacal judge, and before David and Tom realize, both boys are shipped off to a boot camp like facility called Fresh Start. I have to admit, I thought I had The Conviction pretty much figured out from the start, and on some levels I did, yet, despite some telegraphed twists early on Robert Dugoni has created a fun, fast paced action thriller that managed on more than one occasion to kick my assumptions in the teeth. While I often decry the Legal Thriller that spends little time with the law, Dugoni’s tale is part Scott Turow and part Toy Soldiers, and it provides lots of tension and a few twists that will blow away the most seasoned skeptical mystery reader. While The Conviction is full of characters that fans of the David Sloan series has grown to love, the highlight of the novel is the assorted bad guys that you love to hate. Dugoni presents some of the more despicable antagonists, ones I long to see repeatedly struck in the face with a splintered baseball bat. I love when bad guys manage to really piss me off, because it only makes those moments of comeuppance even more satisfying. At times, The Conviction strained plausibility, or at least, I hoped it did. The scenes at Fresh Starts were terrifying and the level of corruption mind-boggling. The idea that people given our trust can act so egregiously for greed’s sake, placing our children in danger, really irks me, and I hope this is hyperbole on some level by the author.  In The Conviction, Robert Dugoni is on top of his game, presenting us a tale of corruption and blatant disregard for the law by some of the most despicable antagonists I have come across in legal fiction. The Conviction is thrilling and disturbing, with some surprised twists that should keep seasoned mystery readers guessing, while others not even realizing they should be guessing.

It’s been a while since I have listened to a book narrated by Dan John Miller. His performance in The Conviction was excellent. One of the toughest things for a narrator to do, in my opinion, is portray children characters in a believable way. Dan Jon Miller handled the roles of Jake, TJ and the other teenagers sentenced to Fresh Start brilliantly. I was quite impressed. He managed to capture the petulance of a troubled teenager perfectly without coming off overly whiney or sounding condescending. Miller’s reading was crisp, and his pacing firm. He handled the shifting perceptions of the complicated ending smoothly. While the majority of the audiobooks I have experienced being read by Miller where adult, I would be quite interested in hearing him take on a Young Adult novel.

Note: Thanks to Brilliance Audio for providing me with a copy of this title for review.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

One response

27 07 2012
Devourer of Books

I’m always hesitant to listen to audiobooks with kids in them, glad to hear that Dan John Miller does a good job!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: