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Rogue Lawyer
Cover of Rogue Lawyer
Rogue Lawyer
A Novel
Borrow Borrow
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Featuring one of John Grisham’s most colorful, outrageous, and vividly drawn characters yet, Rogue Lawyer showcases the master of the legal thriller at his very best.

On the right side of the law—sort of—Sebastian Rudd is not your typical street lawyer. His office is a customized bulletproof van, complete with Wi-Fi, a bar, a small fridge, and fine leather chairs. He has no firm, no partners, and only one employee: his heavily armed driver, who also so happens to be his bodyguard, law clerk, confidant, and golf caddie. Sebastian drinks small-batch bourbon and carries a gun. He defends people other lawyers won’t go near: a drug-addled, tattooed kid rumored to be in a satanic cult; a vicious crime lord on death row; a homeowner arrested for shooting at a SWAT team that mistakenly invaded his house. Why these clients? Because Sebastian believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial—even if he has to bend the law to secure one.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Featuring one of John Grisham’s most colorful, outrageous, and vividly drawn characters yet, Rogue Lawyer showcases the master of the legal thriller at his very best.

On the right side of the law—sort of—Sebastian Rudd is not your typical street lawyer. His office is a customized bulletproof van, complete with Wi-Fi, a bar, a small fridge, and fine leather chairs. He has no firm, no partners, and only one employee: his heavily armed driver, who also so happens to be his bodyguard, law clerk, confidant, and golf caddie. Sebastian drinks small-batch bourbon and carries a gun. He defends people other lawyers won’t go near: a drug-addled, tattooed kid rumored to be in a satanic cult; a vicious crime lord on death row; a homeowner arrested for shooting at a SWAT team that mistakenly invaded his house. Why these clients? Because Sebastian believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial—even if he has to bend the law to secure one.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    6.0
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 5


Excerpts-
  • Chapter One 1.
     
         My name is Sebastian Rudd, and though I am a well‑known street lawyer, you will not see my name on billboards, on bus benches, or screaming at you from the yellow pages. I don’t pay to be seen on television, though I am often there. My name is not listed in any phone book. I do not maintain a traditional office. I carry a gun, legally, because my name and face tend to attract attention from the type of people who also carry guns and don’t mind using them. I live alone, usually sleep alone, and do not possess the patience and understanding necessary to maintain friendships. The law is my life, always consuming and occasionally fulfilling. I wouldn’t call it a “jealous mistress” as some forgotten person once so famously did. It’s more like an overbearing wife who controls the checkbook. There’s no way out.
         These nights I find myself sleeping in cheap motel rooms that change each week. I’m not trying to save money; rather, I’m just trying to stay alive. There are plenty of people who’d like to kill me right now,  and a few of them have been quite vocal. They don’t tell you in law school that one day you may find yourself defending a person charged with a crime so heinous that otherwise peaceful citizens feel driven to take up arms and threaten to kill the accused, his lawyer, and even the judge.
         But I’ve been threatened before. It’s part of being a rogue lawyer, a subspecialty of the profession that I more or less fell into ten years ago. When I finished law school, jobs were scarce. I reluctantly took a part‑time position in the City’s public defender’s office. From there I landed in a small, unprofitable firm that handled only criminal defense. After a few years, that firm blew up and I was on my own, out on the street with plenty of others, scrambling to make a buck.
         One case put me on the map. I can’t say it made me famous because, seriously, how can you say a lawyer is famous in a city of a million people? Plenty of local hacks think they’re famous. They smile from billboards as they beg for your bankruptcy and swagger in television ads as they seem deeply concerned about your personal injuries, but they’re forced to pay for their own publicity. Not me.
         The cheap motels change each week. I’m in the middle of a trial in a dismal, backwater, redneck town called Milo, two hours from where I live in the City. I am defending a brain‑damaged eighteen‑year‑old dropout who’s  charged with killing two little girls in one of the most evil crimes I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen plenty. My clients are almost always guilty, so I don’t waste a lot of time wringing my hands about whether they get what they deserve. In this case, though, Gardy is not guilty, not that it matters. It does not. What’s important in Milo these days is that Gardy gets convicted and sentenced to death and executed as soon as possible so that the town can feel better about itself and move on. Move on to where, exactly? Hell if I know, nor do I care. This place has been moving backward for fifty years, and one lousy verdict will not change its course. I’ve read and heard it said that Milo needs “closure,” whatever that means. You’d have to be an idiot to believe this town will somehow grow and prosper and become more tolerant as soon as Gardy gets the needle.
         My job is layered and complicated, and at the same time it’s quite simple. I’m...
About the Author-
  • John Grisham is the author of forty-seven consecutive #1 bestsellers, which have been translated into nearly fifty languages. His recent books include The Judge's List, Sooley, and his third Jake Brigance novel, A Time for Mercy, which is being developed by HBO as a limited series.
     
    Grisham is a two-time winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was honored with the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction.
     
    When he's not writing, Grisham serves on the board of directors of the Innocence Project and of Centurion Ministries, two national organizations dedicated to exonerating those who have been wrongfully convicted. Much of his fiction explores deep-seated problems in our criminal justice system.
     
    John lives on a farm in central Virginia.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 17, 2015
    Sebastian Rudd, the narrator of this uninspired legal thriller from bestseller Grisham (Gray Mountain), describes himself a “lone gunman, a rogue who fights the system and hates injustice.” Working in an unspecified Southern state, Rudd isn’t afraid to defend unpopular clients, starting with a “brain-damaged eighteen-year-old dropout” named Gardy, who’s charged with murdering two young girls. Since everyone is convinced of Gardy’s guilt, Rudd faces a tough slog in trying to spring him and nail the real killer. Frequent death threats force him to live a nomadic and isolated existence. His sole friend is his bodyguard and confidant, known only as Partner. Grisham tries to humanize Rudd by making him the backer of an up-and-coming mixed martial artist, as well as the father of a second grader raised by his ex-wife and her current female partner, but he’s more a stereotype than a full-blooded character. Some later plot developments, including the climactic jury trial, strain credibility. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company.

  • Kirkus

    August 15, 2015
    Another by-the-numbers legal procedural, at once gritty and lethargic, by longtime practitioner Grisham (Gray Mountain, 2014, etc.). "There are plenty of people who'd like to kill me right now," grumbles Sebastian Rudd, the rogue lawyer in question. He carries a gun, works out of his car, and sleeps in a different hotel room every week, precisely because he runs up against so many bad guys who mean him harm. Some of them are cops. Why? Because Sebastian, though jaded and cynical, as literary lawyers are required to be, apparently still believes in justice, for which reason, accompanied by a bodyguard named Partner ("a hulking, heavily armed guy who wears black suits and takes me everywhere"), he finds himself in a podunk burg where a client is fighting for his life against the charge that he's brutally murdered two little girls in a spectacularly gruesome crime. Natch, spectacular gruesomeness being another sine qua non for the bestselling crime novel. Indirection and misdirection abound, with lots of talky exposition, the requisite maverick-y norm-flouting ("At this precise moment, I am violating the rules of ethics and perhaps a criminal statute as well"), and the usual sarcastic world-weariness ("The jurors don't believe any of this because they have known for some time that Gardy was a member of a satanic cult with a history of sexual perversion"). All this is to be expected in a genre bound by convention as tightly as our perp bound the ankles of his victims, but the reader can see most of the mystery coming from a long way off, making the yarn less effective than most. And the cliches pile on a bit too thickly, from the large-breasted moll to the bored judge who dozes at the bench. One wonders if Grisham weren't sleeping through some of this as well. Whatever the case, one of his lesser cases.

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    September 15, 2015
    There comes a moment in this book when the reader is likely to think: Ah, now I see what he's doing. At first, the novel appears to be a series of tenuously related episodes in the life of defense attorney Sebastian Rudd, who operates his practice out of a customized van and who actively seeks out big cases and doesn't shy away from the media or from breaking the occasional rule. The cases include the murders of two girls; a man on trial for shooting a police officer (during a raid on the man's house); the abduction of a pregnant woman; and a prison break. They feel, at first, like stand-alone stories, but at some point past the halfway mark, they begin to link up, and we realize that Grisham is trying to show us the fabric of Rudd's working lifechaotic, unpredictable, with several cases going on at the same time. Rudd shares some literary DNA with Michael Connelly's Mickey Haller (the Lincoln Lawyer), but Grisham's hero is no rip-off. Rudd is a complex, compelling character, who, we hope, will appear again and again. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The Grisham name, of course, is all that's needed to ensure an audience, but this time he delivers a quality thriller to go with the brand.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2015
    In his latest, Grisham introduces Sebastian Rudd, a renegade street lawyer with an unconventional yet right-minded approach toward advocating for the powerless. Rudd's cases involve social misfits--all wrongfully accused. There's the drug-addled sexual pervert from a satanic cult, wanted for molesting and drowning two little girls; a Mafia mobster on death row, charged with killing a judge; and a retired homeowner, falsely suspected of drug trafficking and accused of shooting at a SWAT team invading his home. Loathing the legal system and his town's redneck citizens, Rudd intimidates both the local police and judges when seeking a reprieve or dismissal of a case. He also passes choice tidbits to reporters to generate support. However, his most difficult legal battle is with his estranged wife who's waging an ongoing battle to end visitation rights with their young son. VERDICT Grisham devotees will enjoy a compelling and convincing plot propelled by a memorable protagonist who constantly defends his roguish actions and justifies his unconventional behavior. [See Prepub Alert, 4/27/15.]--Jerry P. Miller. Cambridge, MA

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    May 15, 2015

    No word on plot, character, or setting here. My closest guess on mood, given the title? In The Appeal, Grisham says, "Trial lawyers, always a colorful and eclectic bunch. Cowboys, rogues, radicals, longhairs, corporate suits, flamboyant mavericks.... They were anything but boring." Expect not to be bored.

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2015

    In his latest, Grisham introduces Sebastian Rudd, a renegade street lawyer with an unconventional yet right-minded approach toward advocating for the powerless. Rudd's cases involve social misfits--all wrongfully accused. There's the drug-addled sexual pervert from a satanic cult, wanted for molesting and drowning two little girls; a Mafia mobster on death row, charged with killing a judge; and a retired homeowner, falsely suspected of drug trafficking and accused of shooting at a SWAT team invading his home. Loathing the legal system and his town's redneck citizens, Rudd intimidates both the local police and judges when seeking a reprieve or dismissal of a case. He also passes choice tidbits to reporters to generate support. However, his most difficult legal battle is with his estranged wife who's waging an ongoing battle to end visitation rights with their young son. VERDICT Grisham devotees will enjoy a compelling and convincing plot propelled by a memorable protagonist who constantly defends his roguish actions and justifies his unconventional behavior. [See Prepub Alert, 4/27/15.]--Jerry P. Miller. Cambridge, MA

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 29, 2016
    Grisham’s antihero defense attorney, Sebastian Rand, who narrates this novel, handles cases no other lawyer would touch with a 10-foot habeas corpus. More obsessed by justice than legal process or friendship or social amenities, he bends the law to its breaking point, keeps to himself, and travels in a custom-built bulletproof van driven by a mainly silent ex-client he calls Partner. He’s cold, contemptuous, and hard to like. Reader Deakins doesn’t ignore this, but includes a smidgen more humanity than the author has put on the page, a welcome addition—not that his version of the lawyer is warm and fuzzy. Rand, after all, is dealing with a broken judicial system, described by Grisham with an insider’s knowledge and read with eye-opening clarity by Deakins. He also adds an aural sense of continuity to a work that is more a collection of cases, won or lost, than a fully constructed novel. A Doubleday hardcover.

  • Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post "Terrific...Grisham, can still devise distinctive characters, tricky legal predicaments and rogueishly cheating ways to worm out of them."
  • Benjamin Percy, The New York Times Book Review "Sebastian Rudd is a kind of social justice warrior and Grisham uses him to take jabs at the legal system...all with a blunt, rude, gravelly poetic wise guy voice that makes Rudd come across as a kind of 21st-century Philip Marlowe."
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John Grisham
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