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The Life O'Reilly (Rising Star Series)
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The Life O'Reilly (Rising Star Series)

4.5 13
by Brian Cohen

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At once a bittersweet love story and a young lawyer's journey of self-discovery, this auspicious debut delivers an emotional wallop and will move readers in unexpected ways.

On the outside, Nick O'Reilly has it all: a high-flying legal career, as a partner of an elite Wall Street law firm, and financial security, with an apartment overlooking Central Park.


At once a bittersweet love story and a young lawyer's journey of self-discovery, this auspicious debut delivers an emotional wallop and will move readers in unexpected ways.

On the outside, Nick O'Reilly has it all: a high-flying legal career, as a partner of an elite Wall Street law firm, and financial security, with an apartment overlooking Central Park. Having grown up in a working-class family, as far back as Nick can remember this was his dream. But at the age of thirty-six, after several years of sacrificing his personal life for professional gain, Nick has started to ponder his future and consider the mark he wants to leave on society both professionally and personally-his legacy.
After being chastised in the press for turning a cold shoulder to the community, the firm calls upon Nick to help rehabilitate its image by handling its first pro bono case. Nick is asked to represent Dawn Nelson, a domestic violence victim who is fighting for custody of her young son, Jordan. A far cry from Nick's specialty of defending the misdeeds of Corporate America, it is up to Nick to set Dawn and Jordan on a path to a better life. But Nick gets much more than he signed on for, as Dawn forces him to reassess his life choices and, ultimately, be true to himself. Only when Nick finally realizes what is truly important in life does he face his toughest-and possibly final-challenge: a battle for his own survival.
Exploring the flaws of being human and the importance of controlling one's own destiny, The Life O'Reilly reminds us of how precious life is and how quickly and tragically it can change. Written with great empathy, The Life O'Reilly is an emotional and unforgettable tale thatwill challenge one's expectations of the modern love story and introduces a poignant and sensitive new voice in fiction.

Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review
The Life O'Reilly is a fascinating read that will warm hearts.
The US Review of Books
"...this is the way life should be lived. To be able to stop at any moment and say, I am proud of and very much at peace with who I am."
Brian Cohen's first novel is an affecting and haunting story that captures the attention of the reader and holds it throughout, lingering long after the final page is turned.
Cohen has a fluidic writing style. His story is well paced and his characters have dimension and distinctive personalities. It is inspiring to watch Nick's heroic battle for survival as he evolves into the kind of man (and life) that will leave a lasting and impressionable legacy.
It is not often that a work of fiction leaves the reader contemplating his or her personal outlook on life. The trials that Nick endures are easily applicable to reality. His story gives us pause to think, leaving us grateful for having made Nick's acquaintance.

Product Details

iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date:
Rising Star Series
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Brian Cohen earned his Bachelor of Accountancy from George Washington University and his Juris Doctor from St. John's University School of Law. He has been practicing law for twelve years. Brian lives with his wife and their daughters in the suburbs of New York City. He is at work on his second novel.

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The Life O'Reilly (Rising Star Series) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"WOW!! This genuinely original, realistic fictional novel remains UNSURPASSED to any other preceding it!!! Honestly, I never read a more poignant, comprehensive human, spiritual story about law, love, and life. Frankly, next to the Bible, I never read a more complete book. Reading this book, you not only fall in love with all the characters, your identity becomes almost subsumed by them, experiencing every possible human emotion fathomable with them while reading it. It actually brought me to tears, on a multitude of visceral levels!! Not a characterization suffices!!! Author Brian Cohen in "The Life O'Reilly" features the luminescent life trajectory of a lawyer, and his own innovative spiritual, self-actualized journey, as he attains true personal enlightenment. Recognizing the shallowness of lifestyle, enslaved to a sordid top-tier Wall Street law firm, Nick O'Reilly soon learns life beyond law. For the first time, he discovers what it means to truly live, savor life! Desire a narrative overview on Law, Business, and Legal Ethics, from the professional purview of legal practice; you got one. If you want a lesson on morality, this one covers it!! You want a profoundly human chronicle of life and love, or perhaps crave to read a scintillating romantic love story unlike any other written in human history, this book epitomizes it!!!! Tailored to accommodate a tapestry of preferences "The Life O'Reilly" offers something for everyone. I most HIGHLY RECOMMEND, or rather, EXHORT, everyone to READ Cohen's profoundly poignant, realistic drama; A LITERARY MASTERPIECE FOR EVERY GENERATION THAT TRANSCENDS DESCRIPTION!!!! - Michael W. Staib
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
The Life O'Reilly is a must read and I will be anxiously awaiting a second novel from Brian Cohen. A wonderful read that I finished in under 24 hours. A story full of love, real life and heartache - it made me think what I hold close to my heart and where I put my priorities. It was refreshing to read a book that was written by and about a man. I read so many books where the females are the central characters and I was reminded that it is nice to flip the page and hear a story from the male point of view. I loved reading the feelings and emotions that a man feels for a woman. A great read that I would recommend to readers who love a sweet story.
jewelknits More than 1 year ago
This is a story that pulls you into the stressful world of Nick O'Reilly, with a high-paying, stressful job and a horrid boss. The partners and associates at this firm are expected to keep the night fires burning, and to come in on weekends. If a partner is out of the office by 7 PM, they are looked at askance, as though they are slacking. The firm has built it's reputation on successfully defending corporations from lawsuits, and Nick is one of their successes. When the firm starts receiving negative press for being so greedy and profit-minded, they decide to take on a pro bono case to offset some of the negative publicity (pro bono means without charge), and Nick is volunteered to be the person who takes on this case. It's quite obvious that the firm is ONLY interested in the publicity this will garner, and NOT in having the case handled effectively, as Nick finds when he takes some time from a corporate case to devote some time to THIS one. As Nick becomes more drawn into the case of Dawn, he struggles with his conscience. His own hard-working father died broken by the turning gears of a corporation that he spent most of his life working for. Is life REALLY all about making money and more money for people who have far too much? Is the end goal to keep taking and defrauding the 'little guy' in a quest for profits? I had only a couple of issues with this story. One is that the information provided in the file that Nick receives when he takes on Dawn's case has far too much personal information. I've worked in attorney's offices, and unless you're reading from a deposition (which is where the party themselves tells their story and answers questions), you're not going to see things like how someone felt when they met their spouse, etc. The other is that the only fully-drawn character is Nick himself. The plot IS definitely character-driven, but I think I would have liked to see a bit more depth in the other characters, especially Dawn and Nick's best friend Evan. I LOVE how this book takes you into the everyday world of Nick. He's pretty much a plain, uncomplicated guy who busts his bum every day simply because it's expected of him. He has a brilliant legal mind, but no real "life". Dawn and her son Jordan, become more than victims to him, and then we see him start to really live, with all of the ups and downs and ups and more downs that living a real life holds. I can't tell you a lot more without spoilers, so just be certain to have some Kleenex handy; you will probably need them.
JP-WASHINGTON More than 1 year ago
This book had been on my wish list since I first read about it when one of my fellow book bloggers reviewed it on their own book blog. So I have to admit I was delighted when the author contacted me wondering if I would be interested in reading and reviewing this story for myself! When I first started the book, I had a hard time identifying with the main character. He was a corporate lawyer that worked long hours and made a lot of money. I must say I wasn't too impressed with him and I was worried the story wouldn't keep my interest. Slowly, though, that all started to change. Nick, the main character, began to realize the importance of the other non-materialistic aspects of life. He found love. He supported his family emotionally and appreciated the people in his life. I truly loved seeing him mature and grow into a loving, caring person. Then there was the ending--ugh! I really can't divulge much without giving it away entirely, but I was not happy with it at all. I wanted to see more of his story once he had finally realized his life's dream. This book was written based on a premise that too many of us often overlook during our hectic, busy lives--the idea that life is too short and we should live it to the fullest while truly appreciating those who are most important to us. It really grew on me, and I have to say I hugged my boys a little tighter when I was finished reading! This was a heartfelt read that I ended up enjoying quite a bit. I am rating it four (4) cups--would have been five if not for that darn ending!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story of Nick's journey to find love and balance in his work obsessed life shouldn't be missed. Dawn and her son help Nick remember what is important in life. The Life O'Reilly is not to be missed!
Bookventures More than 1 year ago
If you are in the mood for a good romantic story, then the Life O'Reilly is a great book to read. The general plot was really good. The author used a lot of twists and turns to make the story interesting and to keep the reader glued to every page. The essence of the story is about finding love in the least unlikely of situations. Call me a hopeless romantic or a product of the Life Time Network channel, but I find that stories like this one is more relatable because as human beings, we are always making a connection(whether romantic or friendly). But ultimately the story is about having control over one's destiny and the ability of one to shape it. We are programmed to set certain goals for ourselves; like getting in to a prestigious college, graduating with honors and obtaining our dream jobs, living in a great house and having financial security. Yet this story forces us to ask ourselves Ok, now what? What's next after we achieve our academic goals and career dreams? The relationship that develops between Dawn and Nick is really sweet and believable, and it's a welcome relief from those that develop in romance stories. More importantly it was relatable. Having worked so closely together it was easy to see how they developed affection for each other. Dawn had everything that Nick longed for; a beautiful, loyal and caring friend who he can also call his wife and an energetic, fun loving son in Jordan. Similarly, Nick represented a loving, stable, protective father and husband to Dawn and Jordan; a far cry from what they had before. The background for the story was also well done. The author crafted the law firm in such a way that it felt like lawyers existed in another universe. They had their own dress, code of conduct, language and he was careful to show that this was mundane and restrictive especially to married attorneys who often had to sacrifice their family time for work. I guess this strategy was used to compare what Nick had and what he felt like he was missing out on. Also being a practicing lawyer himself, the author was able to accurately recreate this world. He accounted for everything, including the jargon and terminology. You would think that as a reader, you would be lost in a paragraph full of legal terms however the author was careful in the terms that he choose and how he explained them. So they did not read as confusing. As a result of his analytical background, the author was able to be descriptive with every scenery or emotion, enough to create an image in the readers mind. Yet in his bid to do this, he neglected simple things that would further cement the scene or scenario or to help make it more visual for the reader. One example of this is absence of the way in which illness and subsequent treatment aged the character. Another was the dialogue between characters, which in some instances was a bit repetitive and didn't quite convince me of the scenario. I did not like that Nick faced a number of issues coming to the close of the book, in quick succession. It felt like over kill. I picked up on the idea that there is never really a happy ending.
TheCrowdedLeaf More than 1 year ago
Nick O'Reilly is a bit stuck in his current place in life. Partner at a prestigious law firm, surrounded by luxuries only a large pay check can buy, with little free time, but at least one good friend to sympathize with, Nick knows his life is incomplete without a wife and family, but he can't seem to find the time, or the person, he wants to make a future with. But then, as a PR stunt, he's forced to take a pro bono case and meets Dawn and her son Jordan. The victim of domestic abuse, Dawn is looking to extricate herself from her horrible marriage. She just wants to be safe with her son, away from her husband, and happy in a new life. With a near instantaneous attraction, Nick tries to keep things professional with Dawn, but their meetings slowly evolve into more romantic occasions. This is the story of life. Nick and Dawn face trials and tribulations in their relationship, and not everything ends happily-ever-after. Life happens, sickness happens, and this novel is the story of a couple whose love bears all. The concept is good, similar to a Nicholas Sparks novel, and the characters are vivid. But the words didn't jump from the page and grab at my heartstrings. This is a story I can believe would actually happen and I wanted to be fully invested in Dawn and Nick's relationship, but the narrative felt a bit dry, less like a love story and more like a deposition. In the end though, The Life O'Reilly is a love story; one we don't often see every day. Dawn and Nick found each other when they most needed to, and through good times and very bad times, the power of their love is a message of the beauty of humanity and the things we can do for each other. 3 stars (I received this book from the author)
CBH More than 1 year ago
Nicholas O'Reilly was a partner in a huge New York law firm, Williams Gardner & Schmidt. He was going places with this firm and had much prestige even though he knew this type of firm was a cutthroat kind of firm. He had many friends in the firm. Nick felt very close to one lawyer, Evan, in the firm but there was another lawyer that was there to criticize every move Nick made, good or bad. Phil was one of those guys that loved to cause trouble with his words and deeds. Phil was slightly superior in position within the firm to Nick and he loved to enforce that fact. Evan and Nick had dreams of once having their own firm handling many in the entertainment business as their clients. But, meanwhile, onward and upward where they now worked. In a meeting of the firm Nick was selected to begin a new pro-bono department of the firm. Williams Gardner & Schmidt decided they needed more good publicity and they felt this free work for individuals or organizations that couldn't afford lawyers would place them very well in public opinion. However, their work for the billable clients could not suffer because of the pro=bono clients. Nick's first client was Dawn Nelson. Dawn was a beautiful young woman, mother of a young son, going through a horrible time with her husband. She wanted a divorce to get away from all the physical and mental beatings she was taking from her husband but couldn't afford an attorney. Through a local organization Drew found Nick, even though Nick had never handled any type of law for domestic disputes or any pro-bono work. As in most firms, it was a rule that no personal contact would be allowed between clients and lawyers that could be construed as sexual or too personal otherwise. After several meetings, Nick and Dawn had very strong feelings for each other and did all they could to avoid any contact that could be seen as improper but things did not end up that way. Nick was called before the firms' management and blasted for his conduct and making Dawns case blow up and extended when it should all be over and the divorce final. The legal authorities censured Nick and he was, of course, fired from the firm. Nick was devastated to lose his job and position he had so long worked for and had performed such a good strong job, but even though he felt he was not guilty of such actions with a client, Dawn, he could see how his time and place with her could have caused his downfall. The board gave him a two months suspension from practicing as a lawyer. This made Nick turn in circles and spin his wheels to determine his future. The suspension did give him time to get to know Dawn and her son, Jordan, all of whom became happier every day and to ponder what his future might be. Within a short time, Nick received a call from Evan telling Nick that he had done what they had discussed years earlier of starting their own law firm to handle their entertainment clients and expand on the list. Nick was elated but he could not legally yet do this work but he did do all he could toward helping the new firm grow, and grow they did-fast. Then came the talk of a wedding, a honeymoon, another baby, a new home, and with the growing business finances were no problem. Things were going great until Nick started feeling sick. He had not felt well for some time but put the blame on all his work and troubles from the old firm. He continued working hard, enjoying life, and looking forward to the wedding
TCM_Reviews More than 1 year ago
The Life O'Reilly is the compelling story of Nick O'Reilly, a successful law partner at a Wall Street firm. Nick leads a busy and well compensated life with corporations as his usual clients. When Nick is unexpectedly thrown the firm's first pro-bono case, his life changes forever. Upon meeting the victims of the domestic violence case, Dawn and her young son, Jordan, Nick is horrified by the pretentious nature of his firm. Finally, with a meaningful cause to fight for, Nick takes the reins and his life begins anew. Upon reading this novel, the reader will be surprised that this is Brian Cohen's first book as he beautifully melds the legalese with the romance and quickly captures the reader's interest and attention. Written in the first person it is only natural to accompany Nick on his roller coaster of emotions as he at once finds himself out of bounds and then sinking a three-pointer. We are all familiar with the eternal quest for meaning and fulfillment in life and Cohen weaves an unforgettable story of one man's journey. I look forward to more novels from Brian Cohen as he is a successful writer with a reserved spot on my book shelf.
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
Brian Cohen's "The Life O'Reilly' is a heartwarming and compassionate story of one lawyer's quest for love and meaning in his life. Nick O'Reilly had the money, the career and a great apartment, yet there was something missing. It took the pro bono case of a young woman and her son to change the way Nick looks at the world and his life.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Because of the media brouhaha over bringing in millions and doing nothing for the community, Wall St law firm, Williams, Gardner & Schmidt decide to do some Pro Bono cases. They choose NYS Bar Associate Trial Lawyers Section Chairman and company junior partner Nicholas O'Reilly to handle their first case. His client is twenty-six year old Dawn Nelson, a mother of not quite three year old Jordan. She wants a divorce and a restraining order to keep her abusive spouse Jimmy, a stockbroker, away from them. Nicholas meets mother and son at the offices of the NYC Legal Services. Though his expertise is corporate law and not family law, Nicholas pledges to do what is best for his client. At their first meeting, he gives Jordan a Thomas truck to play with, which Dawn appreciates. As they work close together, Dawn reminds Nick what matters in life as he finds no satisfaction helping odious fat cats get off from situations they earned. Instead he finds himself working so much harder with so much satisfaction for the indigent mother and child. The Life of O'Reilly is a deep character driven legal thriller starring a man who learns what life is all about when he takes on his first pro bono case as he has a client with a human face as opposed to a corporate mask (recent Supreme Court decision aside). The story line focuses on the changing attitude of Nick who begins to question is that all there is once he realizes how beautiful a person Dawn is and how precious Jordan is. Readers will appreciate the gift the Nelsons give Nick when they replace his cynicism with hopeful idealism. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ClaudiaP More than 1 year ago
Brian Cohen's first novel is an affecting and haunting story that captures the attention of the reader and holds it throughout, lingering long after the final page is turned. As a partner in an affluent law firm, Nick O'Reilly is at the top of his game, but what Nick does not realize is that the rules are about to change. When the high profile attorney is assigned to a pro bono case, his focus is shifted from that of his wealthy clients on Wall Street to a young wife and mother, Dawn Nelson, seeking asylum (along with sole custody of her little boy) from her violently abusive husband. Nick is drawn to Dawn both emotionally and physically. After listening to her heartrending account of life with her sadistic spouse, Nick becomes determined to win Dawn and Jordan's freedom. In the process of building his case, Nick's inappropriate attorney/client relations with Dawn results in devastating consequences to his career that will change his life forever. Cohen has a fluidic writing style. His story is well paced and his characters have dimension and distinctive personalities. It is inspiring to watch Nick's heroic battle for survival as he evolves into the kind of man (and life) that will leave a lasting and impressionable legacy. It is not often that a work of fiction leaves the reader contemplating his or her personal outlook on life, but the trials that Nick endures are easily applicable to reality. His story gives us pause to think, leaving us grateful for having made Nick's acquaintance.