Law and Addiction: A Legal Thriller. Mike Papantonio. Waterside Productions. April 2019. pb, 312 hp.; ISBN: 9781939116468.
Opioid addiction has become a national crisis! More cases of overdose fill the news on a weekly basis. Police regularly carry and administer Narcan for overdosing addicts. Meanwhile, as Mike Papantonio has so carefully and deftly delineated in this fictional account of reality, attempts to deal with the problem on a local and national basis continue, attempts to stem a raging flood of addiction and death.
Jake Rutledge is a new lawyer who lost his twin brother to this horrifying disease. Jake and Blake had a favorite term they used with each other about having each other’s back. Now Jake is determined to carry out his promise because of his grievous loss. Having no money and no connections isn’t exactly a wild card in legally pursuing the sources and markets that are part of the mass distribution system of selling opioids. However, Jake’s got guts and high-caliber intelligence to get his search going. So he begins by suing two companies that sell massive amounts of drugs to little known small towns in and around what is known as “Zombieland.”
He then connects to a highly successful lawyer with a dynamic record of experience in suing Fortune 500 companies. They begin by suing companies who have made a killing (literally and figuratively) in West Virginia and Ohio. Readers will be riveted to the course of each court phase and the wiliness of Jake and Deke, his attorney second chair, in challenging big shot attorneys.
Readers, however, won’t be ready for the methods used to suppress and then shut Jake up. No spoilers here. Suffice to say, Jake meets Blake’s former girlfriend who is now addicted to Oxycontin and helps her through her gritty efforts to withdraw from her addiction. He himself is about to undergo empathic thoughts and feelings after hoodlum attempts to bribe his efforts fail.
The reader also meets several characters who deal and distribute drugs, individuals who are caught innocently in the dragon net of illegality and can’t get out to survive!
All in all, the reader can anticipate the ending but that’s only after brutality and other machinations have all failed to stymie Jake’s efforts. Mike Papantonio has penned a necessary legal thriller that everyone should read. The question readers are left with is “Where do we go from here?” Highly recommended contemporary fiction!