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2.0 out of 5 starsDisappointing content.
Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2018
First, let me say that as an author, one of my greatest beliefs is that good character development should be the foundation of any story writing. It is not easy to write a book; it takes really hard work and constant vigilance. I applaud anyone who is published. The main character in The Defendants is Thaddeus, a newly graduated legislator by about 18 months. While he may be a rookie to his profession, in this story through lack of creativity and energy, he allows everyone else figure out how to solve the problems for his client. He lacked ingenuity, perseverance and creative investigation. He did however whine a lot about what he DIDN'T know, and his inability to take even the next step in her defense. Even his paralegal applied more effort than her boss Thaddeus. He did not save his client, his paralegal did. Makes you wonder just who took the bar exam, here. Secondly, there were far too many word errors in this book. This should not happen, since technology and good editing would have caught all of them. It's like reading narrative written at a grade school level.
John Ellsworth doesn’t fool around. In Paragraph 3 of Chapter One, Ermaline Ransom is stripping to the waist in Thaddeus Murfee’s tiny law office. Thad is transfixed, not only by the full-frontal view of Ermaline, but by the word “Victor” carved, and inked, across her breasts. “Victor” is Victor Harrow, a local building contractor and political power in the little town of Orbit, Illinois, downstate from Chicago. Thought by the town to be very wealthy, he is in fact mortgaged to the hilt, so much so that he has fallen behind in his payments to the Mob. This is their retaliation, with further punishments to come if he doesn’t pay up, at once. They think Ermaline is his lover but she is really just an innocent caught in the middle.
Shortly afterward, Victor is found shot dead, and Ermaline, though liked and trusted in the town, has after all a towering motive. She is arrested and jailed, and asks Thad to defend her. The rest of the narrative deals with all the legal maneuvers associated with courtroom drama, but is enlivened by the fact that Thad barely knows what he is doing, being only a few months out of law school. As a result, he needs a lot of help, much of which comes from Christine, his secretary. She is an Iraq war veteran, with considerable dark-side judicial experience she can’t discuss. Further, when Thad agrees to defend Ermaline, he becomes a threat to the Mob, and justifiably goes in fear of his life.
The book is a good introduction to what became a successful series. Mr. Ellsworth is an experienced writer, so the words go down smoothly. Read it; you’ll like it.
After finishing the first book in this series (Thaddeus Murfee A Young Lawyer) I simply had to continue to read about his further exploits in the second star to the right.
Thaddeus is struggling in his new home of Orbit, IL. All the lawyers there are, because the uptick from The Great Recession has not yet hit this very small town in a very small county in Illinois.
Thaddeus, however, has made trustworthy friends. And when a well-known and liked young woman suffers a horrible injury, one of those good friends sends her to Thaddeus.
And the book is off to the races. His experience as an Assistant United States District Attorney (see book one) stands him in no better shape than any other wet behind the ears lawyer.
Thaddeus does have one secret weapon - his paralegal, Christine. She had served in the United States Army. Two tours in Iraq, one in Germany. The first two as an MP, the third and last as a paralegal - trained by her time in the JAG Corps.
Between the two of them, this is an exciting legal thriller, shaking up lives across the the state. There's even a FISA Warrant involved, which is incredibly interesting in today's political environment.
This is another unputdownable book by Mr. Ellsworth. The characters are fully shaped, without a single extra word, the narrative is taut and exciting. There nothing superfluous, but time is given for Thaddeus to have a life outside of the practice of law.
Enjoyable to the last word.
One side note: the joke herein has the incorrect punchline. "Your Honor."
5.0 out of 5 starsDavid vs Goliath, can a lowly waitress prevail against the Governor and the Mob?
Reviewed in the United States on April 12, 2018
Small town waitress, Ermaline Ransom, goes to Victor Harris's temporary office in a purple bus for a drink. While there mobster, Johnny Bladanni, shoes up and drugs her and Victor then carves VIC on one breast and TOR on the other one. All to get Victor to pay his bribe money for the last six months, $100,000! When Victor could only come up with $25,000, Johnny goes back to the Governor with it and is told to get Victor's tax and bank records to see if there was anything with any equity. When the Governor discovers that Victor has liens on everything he owns, he tells Johnny to make an example of him. The Governor also tells him to set Ermaline up to take the fall. Johnny gets in touch with Ermaline's ex-husband, Hector, to help with the job by planting the murder weapons in her home. He links Ermaline to the murder by carving ERM on Victor's forehead. Can Thaddeus Murfee, her young and inexperienced lawyer help to set her free? Many good friends help him along the way but it takes one big mouth to accomplish the seemingly impossible!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 11, 2016
This author claims to be a lawyer but does not have a clue about the law; if he is a practising lawyer he must have some of the most unfortunate clients ever, and be working before some of the most relaxed and ignorant judges in the world. I have not gone nitpicking in the book but I have just checked some of the most obvious nonsense that jumped off the page and bit me. For instance, the rookie lawyer tells the judge that he does not know someone's whereabouts and the following day that person is produced as a witness in that judge's court. If the author is to be believed, either American lawyers are quite prepared to tell big black lies to a judge, or American judges are not intelligent enough to put two and two together ... or both. My not-very-learned friend then has the same rookie lawyer not only successfully subpoenaing an FBI special agent as a witness but producing her in court without giving any notice to the prosecution - the author, the FBI agent, the turkey lawyer and the prosecutor all blissfully unaware that FBI agents cannot be compelled to appear by a state court, let alone by a lawyer's subpoena. The FBI agent then meekly gives evidence during which she voluntarily spills, in open court, the beans about an ongoing investigation of the State Governor and the Attorney General for corruption. These are just a couple of examples from a book that is an insult to the reader's intelligence - the whole book is bursting with this type of idiocy.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 24, 2015
Well if you start this you will probably finish it just to see how it ends.
I have three criticisms; Firstly the text is written in American slang/grammar. You would expect the speech to be written that way but not the prose. Sometimes I had to read a sentence three times to understand it. Very annoying. Secondly it was not edited properly, we had the District Attorney referring to the defendant as "my client" and a witness looking at the dead man in the witness box (because the wrong name was used). Lastly, is it really feasible that this lawyer, young and green though he is, to need his secretary to tell him how to run the case or file a subpoena?
It drags along with pages of irrelevant detail and then it all starts to happen at around 82% in.
A legal thriller that kept me interested right to the end. I found that the legal comments were easy to understand and convincing. The author obviously knew about the law. It was nice to have a large section of the town side with the accused. I was also very pleased that it had a really good ending as so many of the books I have read lately peter out at the end. I got this book free so it was a nice surprise. I look forward to reading more of this author and recommend this book.
Unusually for a book like this, the reader knows whodunnit, why they dunnit and what there next move would be. We also knew that the accused was innocent. The mystery was how our hero would prove his client's innocence. Enthralling story with great characters. Look forward to the next one.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 11, 2017
I read John Ellsworth's " A Young Lawyers Story" an introduction to this series and enjoyed the build up of Thaddeus Murfee's character. Really enjoyed "The Defendants" I like the way Ellsworth shows that Thaddeus is inexperienced, and is in fact learning on the job. I also love the way we are being introduced to the other characters in the town. Now about to start "Beyond A Reasonable Doubt" can't wait!