By Robert Bailey
Series: McMurtrie & Drake
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 8/18/2015
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Law professor Thomas Jackson McMurtrie literally wrote the book on evidence in the state of Alabama. But when a power-hungry colleague uses a recent run-in between McMurtrie and headstrong student Rick Drake to end his career, he is left unsure what to do next.
Meanwhile, a devastating trucking accident in Henshaw, Alabama, leaves a young family dead. Drake, now a fledgling lawyer, takes the case against the freight carrier and soon begins to uncover the truth behind the tragedy that is buried in a tangled web of arson, bribery, and greed. On the eve of the trial and with his case unraveling in the midst of a dangerous cover-up that threatens to silence his star witnesses, Drake realizes that only his estranged mentor, Professor McMurtrie, can help him now.
With everything to lose and only justice to gain, will McMurtrie and Drake overcome bad blood to defeat a ruthless adversary? Can the Professor turn back the clock and recover all that he’s lost?
A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalleyf or an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
THE PROFESSOR, set in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1969,Robert Bailey delivers his debut, a Southern taut legal suspense thriller mixed with a football icon, Paul "Bear" Bryant, an American college football player and coach— best known as the longtime head coach of the University of Alabama football.
Thomas Jackson McMurtrie wants to be a trial attorney, and had just been approached the previous week by a top firm. Now the coach, his former mentor wants him to be a law professor. Before he had reached Birmingham, Tom knew just as he had known all those years ago when he was playing football, the Man had called, and he must answer.
As a law professor, Tom finds himself in the middle of some major issues. He is being forced out; a scandal, betrayed by both a powerful colleague and his own failing health.
At the same time, someone from his past, a girl he dated approaches him, with a legal problem. A few months prior her daughter and husband were in a car accident around Henshaw. They had hit a tractor-trailer truck head-on. Her granddaughter was in the car too and died. They all died, even the trucker.
The trucking company was one in Tuscaloosa- Willistone Trucking Company in 2009 involving a Willistone rig hauling Ultron gasoline and a driver named Harold Newton. A witness says her son-in-law turned in front of the rig, but she does not buy this.
Ruth Ann Wilcox, had never filed a lawsuit before, and she had not one else to call. Tom had not tried a case in year and encouraged her to take it to someone else. He agrees to look at the case. From excitement to guilt. Rick Drake from Henshaw? There is bad blood connected with the two. Rick is now Richard Drake, Esq. Law Firm.
Tom offers the case to Rick Drake. Rick had often daydreamed about chance confrontation with the Professor. The nerve of him coming here after what he had done? He was fired because of him. The Professor thinks this would make up, for how he had hurt his career?
However, could he turn down a multimillion-dollar death case? His only chance was to be a plaintiff’s lawyer and have a million-dollar case walk in the door; that just walked out. He has second thoughts.
Drake, takes the case against the freight carrier and soon begins to uncover the truth behind the tragedy that is buried in a tangled web of arson, bribery, and greed. On the eve of the trial and with his case unraveling in the midst of a dangerous cover-up that threatens to silence his star witnesses, Drake realizes that only his estranged mentor, The Professor can help.
With everything to lose and only justice to gain, will Tom and Drake overcome bad blood to defeat a ruthless adversary? Can they work together and put the past behind them. More importantly, can a sixty-eight year old law professor who has not tried a case in forty years hit the largest verdict in West Alabama history? Vindication, for being forced to retire by the law school?
A fast-paced legal suspense, of the evil corruptions combined with a seasonal legal professor and his young protegee, making for a powerful fight for justice, with some compelling emotional dynamics.
I was initially drawn to the title and author, as a native of the Davidson, NC area, (quaint small college town, having visited a few weeks ago), where the author attended college, as well as a southern legal crime thriller fan.
Look forward to more from the new entertaining southern author, as we continue with McMurtrie and Drake Investigation series.
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About the Author
Robert Bailey was born in Huntsville, Alabama, the son of a builder and a schoolteacher. From the time he could walk, he’s loved stories, especially those about Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and his beloved Alabama Crimson Tide football team.
Robert obtained a Bachelor of Arts in History from Davidson College in North Carolina. Law School at the University of Alabama followed, where Robert made Law Review, competed on the school’s trial team and managed to watch every home football game.
For the past thirteen years, he’s been a civil defense trial lawyer in his hometown of Huntsville. He’s married to the incomparable Dixie Bailey and they have two boys and a little girl.
When Robert’s not writing, practicing law or being a parent, he enjoys playing golf, watching Alabama football and coaching his sons’ little league baseball teams. The Professor is his first novel.
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