Saturday, May 14, 2022

Book Review: Contempt by Michael Cordell


Michael Cordell
Series: Contempt (Book 1)
Publication: TCK Publishing (July 27, 2020)

Description: Playing by the rules landed him on death row. Now he’ll have to break all the rules to survive.

After spending five years in jail for a murder he didn't commit, lawyer Thane Banning agrees to take on a case defending a former inmate against the same DA who put Thane behind bars. Thane is besieged by death threats from the alleged victim’s father and a tidal wave of public outrage following his release, not to mention the corrupt DA who has a grudge to settle. But he doesn’t have much time to think about his personal problems because the case is turning into a nasty fight. Luckily, prison taught Thane a thing or two about survival in a world full of criminals. The last time he played by the rules in court, he landed on death row. This time he'll have to break more than a few rules to come out of this battle unscathed. With help from an ex-inmate and an ambitious law student, Thane will do everything in his power to make sure another innocent man isn’t locked up. But will they be able to uncover the truth in time and convince the jury before the gavel drops for the last time?

My Thoughts: CONTEMPT was an intriguing and engaging legal thriller with a surprising twist. Real Estate Lawyer Thane Banning was wrongly accused and convicted of murder. After five years in prison, he manages to get his conviction overturned on a procedural error.

Thane's out of prison but not with a cleared reputation. The court of public opinion and the victim's father are sure that he was guilty. The District Attorney Bradford Stone hates the idea that Thane got out. Stone has quite a reputation for being tough on crime and political ambitions too. Thane's release doesn't provide good optics.

The only ones who believe in Thane are his former boss Joseph Crowell who runs a boutique law firm specializing in real estate developers and their project, and Thane's wife Thane's wife Hannah who almost never lost faith in her husband's innocence but who doesn't really know the man who has come back to her. 

When a man he met in prison comes to him for help when he's accused of murder, Thane tries to discourage him. Thane's specialty is real estate law, after all, But the chance to finally take on the DA who has decided that Skunk Burns' case would give him needed publicity for his upcoming campaign, Thane can't pass up the opportunity. What also draws him in is the fact that the man Burns is accused of killing is the same police detective who arrested Thane.

Thane has help from a friend who helped him learn how to survive in prison, Gideon who is a career criminal now out on parole, and Kristin Peterson, a law student twelfth in her class and looking to give herself an edge in the job market when she graduates.

These three unlikely heroes are taking on the might of the LA District Attorney's office. But the underdogs aren't going to play by the rules if it means losing the case.

I really enjoyed this story and couldn't put it down. Thane is an intriguing character who doesn't realize how much prison and death row has changed him. I liked the fast-paced plot and all the twists and turns that it took.

Fans of legal thrillers will enjoy this one and hope for more about the characters. 

Favorite Quote:
"I was never what you'd call a good egg, if that's what you mean." Gideon smiled, but Thane didn't respond. "You think maybe you're different from when you went in?" Gideon continued. "You'd have to be. Everyone is."

Thane finally looked up at him. "I thought maybe I wouldn't have changed much because I was innocent."

"Hell, that'd be worse. Besides, nobody leaves Forsman innocent. I don't give a fuck who it is."
I received this one from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

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