Audiobook Review: A Case of Redemption by Adam Mitzner

13 06 2013

A Case of Redemption by Adam Mitzner

Read by Kevin T. Collins

Audible Inc.

Length: 10 Hrs 51 Min

Genre: Legal Thriller

Quick Thoughts: A Case of Redemption is an entertaining Legal thriller for hardcore fans of the genre, or those people who have never seen an episode of Law & Order, The Practice, LA Law or, hell, even that one with those two annoying dudes that currently airs on some damn cable channel. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.

Grade: B-

There is nothing more important in children’s development then helping them foster a sense of self awareness in order to determine what paths there lives should take. It’s easy to tell a child that they should choose a job for security, for money, or because of some family heritage, yet these reasons may not allow a child to be happy. When I was younger, after wanting to be a missionary, a scientist, an award winning film maker, I finally settled on wanting a career in law. I even went to college as a political science major with the express purpose of one day attending law school. Adults had been telling me for years that I should be a lawyer, because I loved to argue. Then they would pat me on the head, ignore my well reasoned arguments, and go back to acting like condescending adults. Despite my love of arguing, there was one really reason I wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to be able to yell "OBJECTION!" in a crowded room, and force people to pay attention to me. Yet, eventually, years of reading legal thrillers wore me down. It seemed these lovely, characters who get to yell objections at the top of their lungs were destined to become broken down, alcoholic, workaholic success junkies with failed relationships and little to no happiness. It seemed the only way they would be destined to achieve happiness was after they quit their big city firms in disgrace, get themselves into rehab and take on an unwinable case that in someway involves a beautiful and mysterious woman and really, I didn’t want to have to go through all that knowing in the end, I’d probably still be disillusioned or betrayed. So, yeah, maybe law wasn’t the best choice, but, occasionally, when no one is paying attention to me, I still like to yell out "OBJECTION!" or when someone really annoys me, scream “OVERULED!”

Attorney Dan Sorenson was on the fast track to success in his big city firm, when a drunk driving took away everything he held dear. 18 months later Dan is an unemployed drunk living off the insurance money from the accident. When a beautiful attorney approaches his with the case of Rap Artist Legally Dead accused of killing his pop Diva girlfriend, Dan sees the case as a chance to redeem himself for past cases and a way to get his life back on track. A Case of Redemption is a solid legal thriller that offers some great moments, but often falls flat along the way. I enjoyed A Case of Redemption but mostly because I am a legal thriller fan, and often enjoy a good courtroom procedural. After Mitzner’s excellent debut, A Conflict of Interest, I was hoping to be blown away with a big step forward in this legal thriller author’s career, yet, I felt the opposite. In a way, it seemed Mitzner was relying on the themes and tropes of the genre without developing them much on his own. Dan was definitely in a downward spiral, but I felt the transition from down and out drunk, to rejuvenated hero lawyer was too smooth. I was also uncomfortable a bit with the romantic subplot where the attractive, full breasted young attorney managed to make him forget all about his dead wife and child through helping him find meaning and some rigorous sex play. It all felt too easy. Mitzner is no slouch in the legal strategy department, and puts together an interesting case, but it felt too much like a blending of bad Law & Order subplots. For instance, from the very beginning Dan was faced with a hostile judge, yet Mitzner does nothing to set up why the judge was so against Dan and his client. I believe there probably were reasons she was so vehemently against Dan, but it was never really explored. Also, now, I’m no legal strategist but I have no clue why two attorney’s for whom money didn’t seem to be a major issue, didn’t even consider hiring a private investigators, instead ran around like a couple of doofus wannabe Magnum, PI’s alienating potential witnesses and basically blundering along. I think this was my main concern, Dan, this high powered and smart attorney, was simply a big doofas. He pissed people off when he didn’t have to, pushed buttons he should have avoided and basically made an ass out of himself. I mean, really, did he think showing up at the dead pop star’s mother’s house and saying, “Hey, was your dead daughter banging any old dudes?” a smart decision?  Along the way, Mitzner uses some clever plotting to hack out some really intriguing twists, but in all honesty, there wasn’t one surprise that I didn’t highly suspect at some point. A Case of Redemption is an entertaining Legal thriller for hardcore fans of the genre, or those people who have never seen an episode of Law & Order, The Practice, LA Law or, hell, even that one with those two annoying dudes that currently airs on some damn cable channel. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.

Luckily, for me, A Case of Redemption was narrated by Kevin T. Collins, who at the very least makes things interesting. Collins has an ability to enhance the quirkiness of a novel or, when all else fails, create quirkiness out of thin air. He has a solid voice that just has a little something extra. I loved listening to him during the courtroom scenes. He captured the rhythms of the courtroom perfectly, giving it an almost poetic feel. I love how he handled the snarky judge, and the defeatist tone he gives Dan whenever she beat him down. Honestly, I shouldn’t have taken so much joy in the judge ripping Dan apart, but I just couldn’t help it. He even made the strange rejuvenation process of attorney down feel almost natural, giving him a bit more life as he immersed himself in the legal work of the case. One thing that Collins may need to work on is his rapping skills. He handled rapper Legally Dead well, but the rapping, was, well, Collins ain’t no Ghost Faced Killah or even an Eminem. Despite my harsh tone in my review, I enjoyed A Case of Redemption, and I think a big part of that was due to the excellent work of Kevin T. Collins.





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.