20 September 2007

Death by Rodrigo

Book rating scale:

5: Touched by God - a work which makes Shakespeare look infantile
4: Amazing - Instantly began rereading it and quoting it to friends
3: Worth Every Penny - a solid, interesting read, inspiring some thought and discussion with people who share similar interests
2: I Paid For It So I Finished Reading It - Some interesting parts but if I lose the book I'm not buying another copy
1: Couldn't Force My Way Thru and Burnt the Book in order to send it to the Hell it deserves

I rate Death by Rodrigo a 1.8: it had a core story which could have gotten very interesting if it had been explored - instead it concentrated on peripheral clutter and the story died.

The story is about two lawyers who get themselves in trouble when they agree to represent a foreign drug dealer in federal court, basically taking a lot of money on the promise that they would get him a bond. They can't and credible death threats follow. They also have a local client whom they represent who has his entire criminal enterprise rolled up and is extremely interested in keeping them alive.

At its core, this is a very interesting concept. The problem is that it ends up being an excuse. The focus is on the dysfunctional attorneys. We spend far, far too much time being told of the homosexual lifestyle problems of the primary attorney. I kept wanting to scream "I don't care, get back to something pertinent to the story!" We spend nearly as much time reading about the other attorney's relationships with women. The way the lawyers are described was offensive - one failed the bar twice, the other only failed it once and neither of them bother to keep tabs on the law or write their own briefs (and these were attorneys who looked down their noses at the court appointed attorneys). What they're good at is manipulating the judge. The ads for this book talk about how funny it is, so I guess this stuff was supposed to be caricaturized and bigger than life to add humor to the book It did not work.

I think that this is supposed to be the first book in a series. Hopefully, in the future the author will back away from the descriptions of the characters' lives and concentrate on the story at the core. I kept waiting for it to happen in this book. I knew that, as in all books of this type, I was going to have to wade thru some setup as the characters were introduced. I almost didn't make it, but I kept looking forward tot he moment the story would actually break thru and I'd be reading about the dealer who has threatened to kill them and the local crime lord who is trying to keep them alive and how all that would play out (especially with a smart crime lord who gets an ace in the hole). Had this book been edited to throw out about half the personal stuff and the author been pushed to elaborate on the drama at the core it could have been very good.

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