Just Finished: Conviction by Richard North Patterson

This book is the April selection of my book club click here for a list of the collected readings of my book club, “The Indy Reading Coalition” . Oddly, it is the third book my club has read that has dealt with the death penalty and someone on death row.  The other two were John Grisham’s The Innocent Man and Stephen King’s The Green Mile, both of which were well-received by my club.

This selection was heavier on the ‘legal’ side of things – indeed, this is where the book made its greatest impression on this reader.  Almost all of the major characters are lawyers and judges, and it has really made me think about how wildly different the work life of people in the legal profession is from other professional people.

The book includes a fictional Supreme Court, and an ‘inside view’ into its workings and machinations.  It also was one of those books that I’m not sure I liked, but am glad I read it nonetheless.  I know that lawyers are, on the whole, pretty smart people (I’ve always assumed they have to be to pass the bar and survive law school, etc.), and I like to think I’m a fairly smart person myself, relatively speaking.  But… I don’t think I could use my ‘smarts’ as effectively as those who have made the law their profession.  The only parts of the book that made me think otherwise were those in which both sides of the case would prepare their arguments while anticipating the other side’s response, and how they would meet that response, and so on, and so on.  I guess I could confess here that, in a ‘former life’ I was a pretty serious ‘amateur’ tournament chess player, and these deliberations and calculations were not unlike those I remember while contemplating a move or tactical sequence in a game of chess.  Where I would fail on the legal side, however, is in what I would call my lack of preciseness in language and its nuances.  This is probably why many of us ‘other professionals’ find reading legal documents so tedious.

The author of this book did a good job in writing for the non-legal profession readers, but I still would have no desire to ever partake in legal proceedings of any kind…  🙂