From Publishers Weekly
The way that this potent debut collection tears at the pompous facade that surrounds lawyers and the legal system would be humorous if it weren't so disturbing. In quick, sharp strokes--the 14 stories each run about five to eight pages long--Ohio attorney Huffman details, through spare, unflinching prose, how humans appointed as lawyers, judges and juries manifest the law, all too often with patent self-interest, absentmindedness and prejudice. Tales peek behind the scenes of the legal system to expose judges whose political status corrupts their rulings; lawyers who overcharge clients for dead-end 10-minute consultations, and who don't know the evidence of a case before entering the courtroom; jurors who vote with the majority just because they have to get home for dinner; and innocent victims who are abused by a system that doesn't recognize gray areas in the law. The power of these vignettes hinges on the author's precision in choosing which link in the legal chain of events to highlight in each story. In "Some Due Process," a lawyer speaks for a boy accused of violating vaguely worded rules banning "public displays of affection" on school campuses. Amid the legalese, it becomes clear why the boy was targeted and punished for kissing another 17-year-old in public. The use of multiple points of view often create realistic tension and texture in each story, as in the polyvocal eight-person jury in "Fair and Impartial." Some stories are written exclusively in courtroom dialogue, others as police reports; all make piercing, unsettling observations about the American system of justice. (July)
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