Itís been a while since I read a legal thriller, so A Conflict of Interest felt fresh to me. Itís the
author's debut novel and a very good read, tightly plotted and interesting.
Althought the narrative is a little slow to get going, we
are soon caught up in the life of criminal defense attorney Alex Miller as he represents his late fatherís old friend Michael Ohlig in an alleged brokerage scam.
The case gets more and more complex as Ohligís links with Alexís family become more significant.
I didnít spot the twists coming in A Conflict of Interest and was never sure entirely where the story would end up.
Despite the great detail about the legal process (and me being a Brit unfamiliar
with the reality of US criminal courts, the whole justice system seemed terrifying as well as ridiculously expensive), but this never drags and
is in fact often very interesting (if frightening).
The book's greatest weakness, for this reader at least, is the character of Alex. The narrative is related in the first person, so we are privy to Alexís thoughts--but I never really felt like I got to know him. I didnít find him particularly easy to like, and his work-life balance
is appalling. Still, he seems to undergo something of an epiphany during the novel, and I liked the way that it finished.
A Conflict of Interest is definitely worth a read for those who like legal thrillers. Itís also a trip into a different world, where people pay two million dollars to retain their lawyer and a one-hour meeting of lawyers is billed to the client at $40,000. Madness!