I don’t normally get excited about a first-time novelist, but this author was an exception. When I saw the notice for Full Disclosure, which should hit stores today, I knew it was a must-read.
Courtroom novels written by lawyers, such as Scott Turow or John Grisham are pretty standard fare. Their credentials make you feel that they know first-hand about which they write. Their behind the scenes accounts provide more than a hint of realism.
I figured that Beverley McLachlin, retired chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, might have some interesting insights in a courtroom novel. I’m sure she does, but this book doesn’t contain them. The central character in this story is not a judge but a lawyer, modeled I suspect on a younger version of McLachlin.
The lack of an “insider” feel doesn’t hamper the book. Cases that come before the Supreme Court frequently are about arcane points of law and rarely include witnesses. I guess McLachlin felt that might make for a dull read, and she was probably right.
What we are left with is a standard murder mystery slash courtroom drama. A lawyer with a client who will probably be convicted, even though she is almost certain he is not guilty. I’m not going to go into the details, that way I won’t spoil it for you.
As an aficionado of the genre, I found nothing new in this one. I saw all the twists coming long before they were revealed. The identity of the murderer seemed obvious to me, and the sudden reveals and plot twists I anticipated long before they showed up in the novel.
Knowing what was going to happen didn’t stop me from reading the book though – I had to make certain that I was right. Full Disclosure is an entertaining read, even if it adds nothing new to the genre.
I think of novels like this as perfect beach reading, something to distract me while lying in the sun on vacation. In such situations I am looking for entertainment, not literature.
Actually, I would have liked this one to have been a bit longer. A bit more character development might have made me like it more. After all, what sort of adult woman goes by “Jilly?” Someone who is trying murder cases, a respected member of the Bar, I would expect to be Jill. Why does she use that name? I guess I’ll have to wait for the sequel (perhaps) to find out.
When I read a first-time novelist, the question I have at the end of the book is: would I read the next offering from this author? Full Disclosure didn’t fulfill my hopes, but maybe I was being unrealistic. It certainly was entertaining enough that I would read McLachlin’s next novel. Even if the central character is named Jilly.
“Review copy provided courtesy of Simon & Shuster Canada.”