Friday, June 7, 2013

Corrupt Practices by Robert Rotstein - Legal Thriller Just Out is Outstanding Beginning of Series!
"Now I realize the letters mean Corrupt
Practices Act.
"What's that?"
"Objection," Frantz says. "The witness
hasn't been qualified as an expert.
"Oh, but I am an expert on that," Grace says.
"I've litigated several Foreign Corrupt Practice
Act matters that required extensive analysis,
and when I was a Supreme Court clerk I wrote
the draft of the opinion in Creel Industries v.
U.S.A., one of the seminal cases in the area."
"The objection is overruled," Judge Schadlow
says, grinning slightly. "Continue, Ms. Trimble.
"The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is a federal
law that makes it illegal for companies to bribe
officials of foreign governments to get business
in that country..."  


Corrupt Practices:
A Parker Stern Novel

By Robert Rotstein

OMG! I read until 1 AM this morning and got up to finish this fascinating legal thriller just so I could do the review today! If you enjoy legal thrillers, you simply must consider this new series!

I admit it--there's a reason for my loving the Parker Stern character. He reminds me of my own experiences with the clinical depression that I have experienced due to job burnout and loss of employment after 37 years of working for the same organization.

Parker's illness came when a surprise entered his life--the
suicide of his friend, mentor and boss. We learn that there were also other reasons, but, essentially, he developed a debilitating fear while doing his job--acting as a court litigator. He became nauseous, had trouble talking and more. I remember one meeting where I had essentially a black out--a few seconds or a few minutes, I never did find out...but it was a very scary thing. Parker's fear became so bad that he was forced to stop working.

Until one of his former co-workers was arrested on charges of money laundering and fraud as the lawyer for The Church of the Sanctified Assembly, which had accused him of embezzlement.
"Before I can finish my sentence, there's a hard jolt.
Lovely gasps. The table feels as if it's about to buckle
to the floor. Dishes clatter. Ice water and coffee slosh
onto Tyler's stories. I look up to see a wiry man glowering
down at me. There's a large Buck knife sheathed in a
holster attached to his belt. Only then do I realize that
he's pounded on the table with his fist.
"What the hell was that about?" I say, standing and
facing off with him. Lovely, too, begins to stand, but I
motion for her to sit down.
"He shoves me against the back wall so hard that I
stumble, knocking down a stand containing a pot of
hot coffee that crashes to the floor and splashes over
my shoe and scalds my shin...
"Philistine!" my attacker hisses. He breaks free and
makes a dash for an emergency exit I didn't know was
there, setting off an alarm that sounds like an annoying
schoolyard bell...
"Probably just like the manager said. Some nut who
didn't like the way we look." What I don't say is that
the man was a messenger from the Sanctified
Assembly. He called me a Philistine, which is pure
Assembly-speak. After we had our falling out, Rich
Baxter would call me a philistine behind my back..."

Deanna, his sometime lover and former co-worker had told him about his charges and that he was asking that Parker represent him. Rich Baxter had left their firm and opened his own office to represent the Church. He knew Parker had a past with what Parker referred to as a cult and had always refused to do any of the Church's work.

Deanna wanted Parker to take the case in order for him to "get back in the game."  His psychiatrist said that he had situational glossophobia--a fancy name for stage fright.

Which was kind of funny, since Parker had been a child actor as well... But that's all I want to say about that--you'll have to read it to find out what that meant!

Finally, Deanna had talked him into doing it, quoting their former boss--"Loyalty is most meaningful when its object has betrayed you." Parker accused her of not playing fair...

And then decided he could at least start looking at things and getting the process started...

But before the trial could begin, Rich Baxter had committed suicide...

One of his colleagues had got Parker a temporary teaching job at a local school and had just three students, but one of them recognized him as the former child star! Lovely Diamond already had a job with a major law firm. Formerly in entertainment, a porn star, she was nevertheless an intelligent knowledgeable individual who soon began to help with his case, as did the other two students. Because he had been hired to represent Baxter's father who was being sued for the money his son embezzled!

Lovely also gets him into the middle of a first amendment case on child pornography, which was never finalized in the book. I'm hoping that this one continues into the next book--of course, I think I already have the key to that case, but I could be wrong...LOL!

As Parker gets more into the investigation, reviewing documents, financials, etc., he is more and more convinced that murder has already taken two of his former colleagues--and then Deanna is murdered! Just as he was beginning to get a handle on things...

Parker is not the typical shyster as we sometimes think lawyers are. In fact, it seems that his loyalty and ethics is what sets him apart--what drives him in taking on things that he is not really mentally and physically able to handle, especially since even the other lawyers and judges involved register concern about his ability to handle his work.

Readers are aware of his thinking on the lawsuits being handled, but, still, Rothstein is able to close his novel with a totally unexpected climatic finish that completely closes out the book--except for the porn writer.  The personal aspects of the lawyer in relation to the legal cases add a dimension to this novel that places Corrupt Practices beyond the routine legal mechanics we enjoy seeing played out. I, for one, am looking forward to getting to know more about Parker Stern and his life, because there was one thing he doesn't know about his background--his religious and cultural beginnings. Is he Jewish as at least one individual assumed? And what about his...

I loved this one! Don't miss it!

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