The Neon Lawyer by Victor Methos
So good it could be British crime fiction
I read an enormous amount of crime fiction – English, Scottish, (I’m not going to say British because Scottish, English and Welsh crime fiction are very different from each other), Irish, American, Australian, Canadian, French, and of course the Scandis (though I’m not such a great fan of those as many people are). I wouldn’t, generally speaking, place American crime fiction in the first rank. I’m happy to debate that with anyone who disagrees but it’s my opinion. But Victor Methos is up there with the best. And what’s astounding about that is that he was born in Kabul in Afghanistan and didn’t immigrate to America until he was nine. His English is perfect. This book is pretty good – good enough that I’ve now bought the second in the series and I look forward to reading it. Methos writes in a simple, straightforward way. He has an equally straightforward view of justice, American style – it’s great if you’re rich but not so good if you’re a penniless nobody. And he should know – he’s been both prosecuting attorney and defending attorney and has so far worked more than a hundred cases. He reminds me in many ways of George V Higgins who was a DA before he was a crime writer, and I’ve been a fan of Higgins since he first came on the scene years ago, but Methos is better. He presents this story in a way that fills you with outrage and moves you uncontrollably right at the end. I foresee a binge read of Victor Methos on the horizon. I’m only giving it four stars instead of five because it’s essentially undemanding, but those four stars are well earned.
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