The Path Between the Seas to The Great Bridge ~ Kagan's Peloponnesian War to Gaddis' Cold One ~ Mornings on Horseback to a River of Doubt ~ Tom to Huck ~ Lennie to Charley ~ Cadfael to Cross ~ Rhyme to Reacher ~ Blomkvist and Salander to Wallander and Wallander ~ Moving Cheese or Eating Frogs ~ On the Road and Into Thin Air ~ The End of History to A Short History of Everything to ... well ... everything else.
Stumble upon a true 5-star novel and you are grateful for heft. Five hundred pages reading ... 15 hours listening ... GREAT! The more, the better. You just don't want the story to end. With A Case of Redemption, though, the 11-hour heft of the novel is a weakness, and redemption comes only in the last 100 minutes or so.
Admittedly, legal thrillers rarely deliver a solid 5-star experience. By their nature, they ARE formulaic (at least usually). The protagonists recognizably fall into one of a very few "types" ~ world weary veteran ... naive young go-getter ... fallen star wounded by life. And, of course, the plots usually follow the same investigation ~ discovery ~ revelation ~ trial ~ verdict pattern. Of course, there are exceptions (Turow, Connelly, early Grisham), and THEY redeem the genre.
A Case of Redemption is not one of those rare and welcome exceptions. But it is not entirely formulaic either. There are surprises here. There is a late plot twist (or two). And it is these surprises that ultimately earn A Case of Redemption a listen.
Otherwise, though, the tale is disappointing.
Character development, for example, is largely unconvincing. Do we really believe a year of binge drinking can just stop, in a few days, because a pretty girl asks you for a favor you aren't sure you should grant? Do we really believe a new job, reluctantly accepted, can instantly vanquish debilitating grief? Do we really believe that at the same time a lawyer is faced with a growing body of lies from his client, he will become increasingly convinced of that client's innocence?
The plot provides little relief. For much of the novel, the plot is entirely predictable. There is really little doubt of the identity of the villain. We can tell who it is before the characters seem to know, even though they have all the information we do (this is a first person narration, after all). And while we come to loath the villain, he is unidimensional; Mitzner never reveals more than a stereotype and only lightly explores motive.
Perhaps least forgivable are the errors of law and practice that litter Mitzner's courtroom scenes. Would it really have been that difficult to fact check this sort of thing?
All these weaknesses notwithstanding, you may well conclude that A Case of Redemption is itself redeemed by the surprising conclusion. For me, it was. The hour or two from the last of the courtroom action, through the end of the novel, made this listen, on balance, a worthwhile investment of time and credit.
IMPORTANT: Since the late plot twists are such "ah ha" moments, you will want to be especially careful of spoilers. Unfortunately, there are some in other reviews here. If you want to experience all the surprises as Mitzner intended (and not at the hands of an Audible reviewer) avoid the reviews entitled, "At Last ... A GOOOD Book" and "Suspenseful."
Finally, a few words about the narration. Collins is an able reader who maintained an appropriate pace throughout his narration. However, he has trouble with some pronunciations (why is this so prevalent among readers?). And, more important, he made a remarkably poor choice in the "voice" he selected for Dan, the main protagonist (and first person narrator). Dan is a 40-something man who has been beaten down by tragedy, which he faced by retreating from the world and into a bottle. Collins "voice" for him, on the other hand, is youthful and immature. The disconnect is especially jarring every time Dan mentions his age.
So, do you spend the credit, and more valuable, 11 hours of your time? If you have not yet experienced legal thrillers by the masters of the genre, go there first. Scott Turow, Michael Connelly or John Grisham can, and often do, deliver full 5-star listens. On the other hand, if you have plumbed those works, enjoy the genre, and relish late plot twists and surprising endings, then redeem your credit here.
Freelance journalist, now living in Israel. Audible books listener for 30 years, when I had to pretend to be blind to get access.
The first several hours were anything but thrilling. "A Case of Redemption" begins like a Grisham production in every respect: Little-guy lawyer, abused and kicked around by life and his former big-time law firm, spends most of his time in a drunken stupor. Suddenly, out of the blue, he lands the Case of the Century -- and along with it, a lissome young lady lawyer with whom he falls in bed almost before you can turn the page. In true Grisham fashion, these two are Underdogs with a capital "U". Not only are they without resources, but they have a quasi-disgusting client who shows few redeeming social values, not to mention that he looks guilty as all get-out. Worse yet, he lies a lot, including to his lawyers. Not just once, but over and over. (Perhaps the first big mystery is why, after getting lied to over and over, these two legal beagles so readily accept whatever he says next as truth, but of course that's a question for the ages.)
In any event, these two handsome young lawyers, hand in hand, set out to produce Justice for the accused. Quite frankly, much of the tale is so formulaic it's not all that interesting -- and real lawyers, beware. The author takes so many liberties with law and procedure it will have you jumping up out of bed yelling "Objection!" all night long.
That said, it has a helluva ending. Blew me away -- there were several big reveals, one I anticipated, a couple of others I didn't. Good stuff.
I don't normally recommend legal thrillers, but I'd read ('read', as in an actual paper book) a previous work by Adam Mitzner -- A Conflict of Interest -- and thoroughly enjoyed it. 'Conflict' was most definitely NOT a formulaic book. It was very unique, unusual, and I liked it a great deal. Unfortunately, that contributed to my frustration with the first half of this book because I was so disappointed. Much of this one is a cookie-cutter replica of every other legal thriller that's maybe sold a million copies but which doesn't hold much interest for me at all. That said, if you can handle a less-than-stellar first part, A Case of Redemption is well worth it for the ending.
Kevin T. Collins as narrator read very well, no problems there. But if I were casting this book, I would have picked someone with an 'older' more world-weary voice. Collins has a 'aw shucks, gee whiz', boy-scout earnestness about him that doesn't really fit a bruised and abused character like Dan Sorenson. I kept waiting for him to summon his dog Tige at any moment. Still, Collins got the job done, and that's what counts.
So go for it -- and block out a couple of hours for the ending. You won't want to be interrupted when you start to get close.
Tell us about yourself!
I persevered with this novel because I had enjoyed Mitzner's first, A Conflict of Interest. But perseverance was required. It was too long, some of the key characters were uninteresting. Althought it was written in the first person by a man who was in pretty straightened circumstances, and the narrator needed to reflect a wide range of deeply felt emotions, it was read with urgency and desperation without any let up.
But, continuing to the end was indeed rewarded with an interesting conclusion.
I look forward to Mitzner's next novel. He is well informed and interesting where legal issues are concerned and an engaging author with creative plots. But in this novel, I just felt that he was just trying too hard and overwriting.
Say something about yourself!
I loved the whole book....
THE LAST CHAPTER! WOW, what an unexpected ending!
I didn't have a favorite, I loved them all.
Oh Yes, I couldn't quit listening to it.
I love Adam Mitzner's books. I am looking forward to more books from him. The narrator did an outstanding job!
Very high. It has been a long time since a book ending surprised me, but this one did, with multiple plot twists at the end that answered every question.
As a non lawyer, I was led through the legal process with just enough information to make things make sense, but not so much as to be "preachy".
Good differentiation between voices and just the right emotional inflections when needed
The ending was awesome
Mr. Mitzner is a great craftsman. Well done.
I am a 60-something streak reader. I like classic literature as well as mysteries, but blood and gore are not my "cup of tea."
This book is well read, but not well written. It was predictable from the early chapters, without subtleties in characters or plot. I was tempted not to finish this, except I had predicted who was "good" and who was ultimately "bad," and wanted to confirm my assumptions. A frustrating listen at times, focused on pubic hairs left on bedding, an incompetent jurist, and a missing baseball bat!
One sometimes wonders how a protagonist can be so dumb, when the reader is screaming:
"It's your girlfriend, idiot!"
Audible for President
By far and away the best listen I have had so far!!! It had me hooked from the first paragraph to the last. From start to finish I listened to it in less than a day and a half. I also like to listen to multiple books at a time but the second i started this listen I did not stop until it was finished!
I have always loved to read, and now I really enjoy listening to my books as well!!
I have not heard of this author before—it was the narrator who caught my attention when the book was released (Kevin T. Collins has narrated two of my favorite books in the past year or so).
I did enjoy this novel—it was pretty standard issue for a legal mystery, but then it took an interesting turn that I was not expecting! That made it unique, and kept the earphones in until I finished the book!! I see this author has another book available from Audible—I will definitely add it to my library as well.
The narrator was excellent—as I thought he would be. This book was read/performed very well, but not in an overly dramatic way—just right!
The excessive pop culture references cheapened the story, and the author's attempt at a more literary opening (by converting years and months into minutes) only made him lose track of the timeline of his own story, so that the protagonist keeps saying months later that it's been 18 months since the catastrophic event that turned his life upside down. I cannot even summon the willpower to list all the bad metaphors and examples of cringe-inducing writing, because verbatim quotes would require another listen. The plot was pretty flimsy, and not even on a par with a typical TV police procedural (I must admit TV writing has come a long way). The narrator did not fare much better, unfortunately. I will not spoil it for other readers by revealing how he sounded out the word "eschew," but allow me to say that the word was hardly recognizable.
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. The ending was obvious to me too early on. The characters were superficial. Mr. Collins narration was often excellent, but he has a habit of making his voice go up at the end of sentences--I don't mean questions here--that drives me nuts. I tried to ignore this at first, but by the middle of the book I found myself repeating whatever he said when he did this.