The Neon Lawyer
By: Victor Methos
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication Date: 11/18/2014
Format: Other Format
My Rating: 5 Stars
With money and hope in short supply, newly minted attorney Brigham Theodore decides it’s time to lower his standards. He joins a seedy fly-by-night firm in Salt Lake City out of desperation. After he loses his first case—a speeding ticket—he’s convinced his career is over. But to his shock, his boss hands him a slightly more complex case: capital murder.
Brigham’s new client is Amanda Pierce, a lost, exhausted woman who gunned down the man who tortured and killed her six-year-old daughter. A jury may prove sympathetic to her unbearable pain, but the law is no fan of vigilante justice—and neither is Vince Dale, the slick and powerful prosecutor who’s never lost a murder case. There’s no question that Amanda pulled the trigger—she did it in front of five witnesses. If she pleads guilty, she will avoid a death sentence, but saving her life this way comes with an admission that what she did was wrong. However, if she refuses the “guilty” label, Brigham will have no choice but to fight for his career—and Amanda’s life.
A special thank you to Amazon Publishing, Thomas & Mercer, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Victor Methos’ THE NEON LAWYER, based on a true story, is an emotional and compelling crime legal suspense thriller mixed with humor, of a new young lawyer, placed in an extraordinary position; defending a woman who murdered her young innocent daughter’s evil killer and pedophile. Set in Salt Lake City, Utah, Brigham Theodore, age twenty-six has a great heart and has worked hard for this day—soon to be the first member of the Bar to also be a janitor. A transplant from Tulane, after Hurricane Katrina, his law school class had been cancelled. Rather than transferring, he took some time off then came back and finished later. He wanted to practice somewhere rural, as in big cities, he knows they have a lawyer for every six or seven persons. The market was so saturated that it was hard to find a job, they did not pay much, or a firm would expect you to live at work and now allow for a life outside of work. He wanted none of this, as why he picked SLC, a place as far from New Orleans as he could get. However, now that he is a licensed lawyer, he cannot find a job; one interview and reject after another. With little money, no car, no Harvard grad or top name school status, nor is he from a prestigious family, and furthermore, he has just enough money for rent and barely enough for food or clothes. However, he does have one suit and a bicycle. Desperate, he thinks he may have to go back to the school for his janitor job. However, he finds a hole in the wall seedy firm LAW OFFICES OF TTB (Tommy Two Balls, a good story here), with a neon sign that reads Attorneys at Law, a not so traditional owner and staff where the bail bonds agency next door is their best friend. Tommy takes chance on him and hires with; no salary or benefits; however a percentage of the cases he brings in. Being brand new at this, his new boss gives him a speeding ticket. He researches, does well, and the next case he is handed is a capital murder case—quite a change. (as they are part of the public defender program). How can he hold the life of a woman he does not know in his hands, when he has no experience in criminal law, especially when she may be the first women to be executed in Utah with the death penalty? Brigham's new client is Amanda Pierce, she is broken, has lost her job, poor, and is disabled, due to serving in the war. Her only daughter, Tabitha was kidnapped at six years old, sexually abused and brutally murdered with her body parts found in a garbage bag ready to be disposed of in a dumpster. Amanda shot and killed Tyler, coming out of the courtroom with five witnesses. She was unable to save her daughter. Now it is up to Brigham to save Amanda’s life as he goes up against a corrupt system who is not there to help the poor. Loved Brigham’s character-- He is a smart, hard-working, funny, with ethics, morals, and a warm heart and has not become cynical or jaded yet. In addition, with his past and his mother being the victim of a brutal crime, offers compassion on his part, as a lawyer in order to sympathize with his client. Also enjoyed Molly, the colleague who came from a larger firm and their relationship, and Tommy, his witty boss with a colored past. They all take Brigham under their wing, and as he prepares for the trial, with tension and suspense as he takes control against the bad guys for a satisfying read.
The setting was so realistic, I would envision Matthew McConaughey playing Theodore in the courtroom scene up against Vince. (would make for a great movie). I devour good legal novels, crime, and courtroom battles, as an avid fan of Grisham and Connelly. This was my first book by Methos, and was highly impressed --his style, with well-developed characters, for a compelling page-turner, which I found difficult to put down. There is much to like here, from the front cover which pulled me in (well done), and an inside view into the life of a struggling attorney fighting against a corrupt system, as well as the injustice of our legal system. Best of all the human interaction and dynamics which makes for an emotional and satisfying read. Would enjoy a series with Theodore and Molly as they make a good team, and possibly more about his mother, and some surprises with Tommy's past; could see at least 4-5 more books here with a variety of different cases (legal is my favorite). Readers would also enjoy Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (non-fiction). Methos experience as a prosecutor specializing in violent crime as well as his current role as a criminal defense attorney in the Midwest, is apparent with excellent writing and research reflective throughout the pages. Love the quote at the front of the book: “At his best, man is the noblest of animals. Separated from law and justice, he is the worst.” – Aristotle