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Books – Review of The Jailhouse Lawyer by James Patterson and Nancy Allen – 2021 – Riveting Drama

by AniM
the jailhouse lawyer
The Jailhouse Lawyer Book Cover

Book Review – The Jailhouse Lawyer by James Patterson and Nancy Allen – Punchy Courtroom Drama

My Rating – 4 out of 5

Plot Summary (Storyline) – The Jailhouse Lawyer

The best part about this book is that it contains two novels – The Jailhouse Lawyer and Power of Attorney within one cover! The earlier collaboration between James Patterson and Nancy Allen produced Juror No. 3 and given that Nancy comes from a rich background in Law, it’s only natural that they will write Legal Thrillers. But these two novels are very good reads, matching the finesse of John Grisham – a legend in this genre – word for word. The protagonists of both novels are female, Martha Foster, and Leah Randall, and are spunky to the core. The first novel is set in Erva, Alabama where Martha Foster and her son Andy arrive to start a new life.

The moniker of The Jailhouse Lawyer was bestowed on Martha while she was in college, when she went to jail for a political protest and advised inmates legally while there.

When Martha’s current firm sets a restrictive health policy in place, she realizes that care for her son Andy would soon be beyond her capabilities, as Andy suffers from a congenital heart disease requiring regular expensive treatment. She quits her firm in a huff and on the same day comes across a job posting for the Public Defender in small-town Erva, Alabama. The pay is good and the benefits are better than those in her current private firm. Martha jumps at it and gets selected, required to join immediately. Upon arrival, she’s greeted with so much warmth and hospitality, that it’s scarcely believable.

The next day, Martha discovers that something weird is going on in this town when she comes to know that the last Public Defender had committed suicide after only a few weeks in the job! Judge Pickens seems to rule everything in the town, including Martha’s caseload (which is nearly zero) and even her access to her clients, who she’s supposed to defend. The jail staff stonewalls her, as does the Public Prosecutor and when Martha pushes her way around, things start turning ugly. Martha manages to snag one client, Abby, from the courtroom but she mysteriously dies in custody!

At this time, Martha comes to know of the barbaric ‘Pickens Chair’ – a detention chair reminiscent of medieval torture instruments, which is regularly used in the jail under Judge Pickens’ order, to discipline ‘rowdy’ inmates. Martha meets her college batchmate Jay Bradshaw here, who’s been jailed for DUI and under a draconian law (again force-implemented by Judge Pickens) has to pay ‘Board Fees’ for his stay in jail. Jay is bailed out by Martha but her dogged persistence goes against Judge Pickens’ liking and she herself is jailed! With only Jay by her side, Martha has to bring true Justice to this small town…

The Jailhouse Lawyer – Video

Plot Summary (Storyline) – Power of Attorney – Novel #2 in The Jailhouse Lawyer

This one’s set in Bassville, Arkansas, the hometown of Leah Randall, a big firm lawyer now in Chicago. When her father is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Leah is asked to come home by her mother and after many years, Leah makes her way back to an awkward welcome, both at home and in the town, in general. Realizing that her father’s condition is serious, Leah has to take up her father’s caseload, though realistically, there are only a few of them. The financial condition of the Randall’s has also taken a turn for the worst, as they can’t find any medical insurance papers, and treatment proving to be expensive with no steady income anymore.

Just before Leah reached Bassville, the town was witness to a double murder, just on the outskirts. Amber Lynn Travis, is the only survivor of a double murder or her cousins who were sheltering her after the demise of her parents. Initially, the Bassville community, came all out in her support, but once the police zeroed in on her as the suspect, that support withered and she was left to hang out dry. Leah, takes up her case and as she digs deep into Amber’s past, she comes across devastating secrets that repulse her to the edges of sanity. Minding her father at home and trying to shepherd Amber through a messy courtroom trial is going to be crazy!

The guardians of Amber, Dale and Glenna Maggard, were shot in the head and then their entire farm was burned down, with Amber the only survivor as she was sleeping in the barn. Till now, though Amber was 23, she’d been homeschooled and led a very controlled life under the watchful eyes of Dale. She is only concerned about inheriting the Maggards’ property as she is their only heir. But Leah has to get her to cooperate as she is convinced that Amber is not the murderer that law enforcement in Bassville is trying to project her as. The Sherriff and the Public Prosecutor Shelby Searce, are hell bent on proving Amber guilty and pressure is being brought on Leah.

The shocks and surprises in store for Leah are of an unbelievable nature and the way the authors navigate through the same without missing a step is amazing. With the entire community turned against her, Leah pursues justice doggedly, even at times taking on the role of an investigator than a defender and when her perseverance finally bears fruit, Leah hopes to finally get justice for Amber. But will the judicial machinery allow an outsider to change the perception about a ‘Son of the Soil’? With Law and Law Enforcement stacked up against her, will Leah find justice for her client?

the jailhouse lawyer
The Jailhouse Lawyer – Cover 2

Conclusion – Book Review of The Jailhouse Lawyer

Honestly, these two books rolled into one collection, is an exciting proposition and James Patterson once again, lives up to his reputation as one the most accomplishe storytellers of our generation. It’s like being carried away by an express train, such is the pace of both novels. The premise of both are different, but the basic principles are the same. The powerful rule as they choose, and it is upto the downtrodden to stand up to the bullies and most times we fail them. But sometimes, we have a Hero standing up to the oppressors and through diligence, manage to bring them down. The institutional corruption is not new to society, the fight against it is.

Preview of the Audiobooks of The Jailhouse Lawyer

Though I speak from the perspective of an ardent admirer of James Patterson, I simply cannot recommend The Jailhouse Lawyer enough. Also, there is the reason that you get two darned good stories under one cover. The legal expertise comes from Nancy Allen and her consultants and the spellbinding storytelling from the master himself. Without hesitation, I recommend this two-novel collection to all readers of good fiction, this is something you are not going to regret! The Jailhouse Lawyer is a cracking read!!

*I hope you have enjoyed reading this review of The Jailhouse Lawyer as much as I have enjoyed writing this! Do watch this space for more such reviews and navigate through the links below for more… Thank you!! *

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