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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The Street Lawyer is Grisham's latest legal thriller, a gripping page-turner much like his earlier book The Firm. This latest outing delves into the often overlooked world of the homeless, from the perspective of an overworked young lawyer who has never ventured beyond his sheltered upper-middle-class life. His world turns upside down as he realizes, through a series of coincidences and a little homework, that the firm he has given his life to is hiding a secret that if public could ruin the firm's unstained name.
Thirty-two-year-old Michael Brock is rising quickly in the competitive ranks of the Washington, D.C., law firm Drake & Sweeney. He has a society wife in medical school, the perfect address in Georgetown, and a baby — his Lexus. All bodes well for a seven-figure future (yes, six doesn't quite cut it anymore) until he looks down the barrel of a .44 and meets the eyes of a homeless gunman at the other end. Brock knows this is no joke — the gun seems 'to be working fine; the smell of its discharge was more noticeable than the odor of its owner.' The gunman, known to Brock only as Mister, takes nine hostages and holds them in a sixth-floor conference room for 12 hours, bound together with rope and lined up against a wall. And if the firearm fails to intimidate, a few pounds of dynamite are neatly strapped to the gunman's chest, handily connected to a single wire for mass detonation.
Mister doesn't want money, stock options, or a Lexus — he seeks retribution. Ignored as a street bum, Mister commands attention at the firm as he turns his gun on eachofthe hostages. He demands to see the lawyers' tax returns, and as the 1050s arduously scroll out of the fax machine, Brock is sure that someone will be shot. With the assurance a loaded firearm provides, Mister reprimands his hostages for the total lack of charitable contributions on their returns. As Mister sadly pauses before delivering another barrage of criticisms, a police sniper sees a clean shot on Mister and blows his head off. Michael Brock is bathed in a fine spray of blood and sticky cerebrospinal fluid that reminds him of Mister for days after he has washed it off.
Clearly traumatized by the event, Brock scours the papers the next morning for mention of the hostage situation. He learns Mister's true name, Devon Hardy, and with the echo of the man's last words, 'Who are the evictors?,' Brock tracks down Mordecai Green, a defender of the homeless and friend of Hardy who gave a quote to The Washington Post regarding Hardy's death.
Brock shows up at Green's office not sure why he is there (a nagging conscience is a new thing), and begins to piece together the complex puzzle that explains Hardy's violent end. With Green's help, and the mysterious appearance of a critical file on Brock's desk, Brock discovers that money is everything to Drake & Sweeney, but nothing to him.
Michael Brock, our young, for-the-people hero, quits his job, becomes a street lawyer with Green, and 'borrows' the precious file. A suspicious car accident, illegal searches of his apartment, and the odd disappearance of the Drake & Sweeney employee who may have supplied Brock with the file soon follow. What's in that file? Does Michael still have it? Can he clear his conscience by finding the truth? I suggest you read the book and find out.
Does it seems unlikely that a hotshot lawyer accustomed to luxury would take a $90,000 pay cut? Yes, but this reader doesn't care. You'll be too busy wondering what will happen next. Plot inconsistencies become inconsequential in this spellbinding story of the little guy that could.
In The Street Lawyer, Grisham speaks for the disenfranchised once again with perceptive and realistic depictions of the life of the homeless. Truth or consequences is what The Street Lawyer is ultimately about — Brock finds the truth, and the behemoth bad guys are socked with the consequences. Shouldn't the world always work that way? In Grisham's world it does. The Street Lawyer is a great read!