Sunday, February 14, 2016

Book Review: The Verdict, A Novel by Nick Stone

Vernon James is in a lot of trouble.  The multimillionaire hedge fund manager has been arrested and charged with the murder of a woman who was found in his hotel room the night after he received the prestigious "Ethical Person of the Year" award. Terry Flynt is a legal clerk assigned to his defense team.  That's a problem since Terry has a history with Vernon and despises him as a result.  (Short version---They went to law school together, Vernon accused Terry of theft and got him kicked out, then married the girl Terry loved.) Vernon may well be innocent but he is not a nice person and that results in some interesting moral dilemmas for Terry.

'The Verdict" by Nick Stone is a 500 page legal thriller that kept me riveted from start to finish. Aside from the many plot twists and turns, this story provides a fascinating look inside the British legal system.  With practices and traditions rooted in the early 19th century, the justice process works quite differently than it does in the U.S. Solicitors perform the investigation and barristers present the case in court.  Clerks do all the legwork.  The court structure is different, the barristers and judge wear wigs, the defendant sits in a "dock" above the jury, sometimes archaic forms of address are employed, etc. 

Nick Stone has been called London's John Grisham.  The legal thriller genre certainly begs the comparison but I found this book to be on a different intellectual level than the average Grisham novel.  My tendency to speed read may be the reason but I found some of the plot tangents to be confusing and the book just too long. Fortunately, one doesn't have to connect all the dots to enjoy this story; the flawlessly presented drama of the courtroom trial is the primary appeal. If you're looking to dig into a substantial and engrossing murder mystery/legal thriller, "The Verdict" is a great choice!  

ISBN 978-1-60598-923-5
Published by Pegasus Books (Pegasus Crime), 2015
MSRP - $25.95
Kindle edition - $12.99
Lowest currently available Amazon price in "Like New" condition - $19.41
Lowest currently available eBay price in "Like New" condition - $10.50

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