Law and Disorder: A Legal Thriller. Mike Papantonio. Select Books. September 2016. 352 pp. ISBN #: 9781590793671.
Like the author, Nicholas “Deke” Deketomis is a skilled trial lawyer and talk radio show host. The novel opens with a dramatic scene in which a young woman, suing a large pharmaceutical company for allowing the sale of a drug, dies right in front of the court after the Judge’s decision to not allow her story as evidence in a class action lawsuit against the drug company. Deke’s law firm had six good witnesses to take to trial on this matter but now he’s got five and he’s looking for evidence that will unequivocally burn through the defendant’s “lawyered-up” and powerful strategies to defeat Deke’s lawsuit.
The plot then moves to a seeming sub-plot in which a coach of a woman’s team at a Southern Pentecostal Church receives a letter threatening exposure for sleeping with a minor fifteen-year-old teen. The alleged perpetrator fakes a suicide hoping to con his wife into forgiveness and prayer, but the Pastor in charge of this church has different plans. For one thing, this is one of those popular mega-churches making enough money from televised sermons and their in-person weekly services to make them a wealthy business. The Pastor is also supporting a former Senator who is planning a comeback and who is stupid enough to ignore the fact that he is a tool in the Pastor’s grand strategy for even more success in the political world.
The remainder of the novel is about the machinations of the court, lawyers, Judges with a partisan preference, pharmaceutical companies whose only vision is making money minus caring about patients who die because of their poisoning drugs, and what it takes to achieve success in modifying the choices made by these drug companies. Illegal methods are deemed perfectly appropriate to obtain pivotal evidence to use against the defendant drug company. Religious leaders are not above destroying anyone who opposes their glorified status.
Most of what is in this novel reflects the way the law and businesses operate, but some of it goes over the edge with authorial license. Still we are left with a ripping tale that has enough twists and turns to keep the reader flipping the pages and left with somewhat an education that is both informative and shocking!
Nicely plotted, with spunky, intelligent characters, Law and Disorder… is a terrific read sure to please those who love the legal thriller genre!