The Tenth Case by Joseph Teller

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The Tenth Case by Joseph Teller

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Category: Crime
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: Jaywalker is an unorthodox defence lawyer in New York. Previous misdemeanours mean that he is about to face a three year suspension but not before he has been allowed to complete his last case. His client is beautiful, rich and accused of murdering her husband. There is so much evidence mounting against her that it's looking more and more as if this case is unwinnable. However, as this is his last case, Jaywalker is not going to leave any stone unturned in his efforts to defend the beautiful Samara.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: July 2009
Publisher: MIRA
ISBN: 978-0778303084

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I am a great fan of courtroom dramas, which is one of the reasons why I enjoy John Grisham novels so much and I pretty much look on him as the master of this genre. So, when I discover a book that claims that it's better than Grisham or your money back I am bound to be interested. This was the claim made by the publishers of The Tenth Case and I had to read it. I do think that Grisham at his best is pretty unbeatable although not all that he writes lives up to expectations. So could this book beat, or at least match, what Grisham does? Read on...

At the start of the book, we meet Jaywalker, a defence lawyer, whose methods are somewhat unorthodox to say the least. In fact, he is in so much trouble that he is about to be barred from practicing law for three years. He is, however, permitted to complete ten existing cases before he is required to stop. Nine of these are quite straightforward and soon dispensed with but the tenth case is different. Samara Tannenbaum is accused of murdering her wealthy husband. The evidence is stacked against her, she has no alibi and only a month before the murder, she took out a hefty life assurance policy in case of his sudden death. The case looks unwinnable but Jaywalker still has to give it his best shot.

The book follows Jaywalker as he prepares for the case and then the actual trial itself. It is fascinating to read how the case progresses and how the lawyer sets about trying to refute all the evidence that is stacked against his client. I really liked the way the author gave the reader lots of insights into the way Jaywalker was thinking, particularly as he attempts to turn the facts around to his advantage. I enjoyed the way that, during the trial, we discovered why he would ask certain questions of witnesses but leave others out. The reader knows that he is one of the most successful defence lawyers, and this access to his thoughts help you to understand why.

The way the trial unfolds is riveting and I wanted to read more and more. Much of the interrogation of the witnesses is presented as court transcripts which I thought worked very well. As well as increasing the pace, it gives an excellent feel to the way the examinations and cross-examinations are going and makes the reader feel that they could actually be there.

The main character, Jaywalker, is developed very well. Not only does the reader experience his excellent rhetoric and sharp mind in court, but they also get to know something of the man too. He comes across as very likeable and because of this, regardless of whether Samara is innocent or guilty, you want him to win. You can't help but smile as he manages to counter some significant piece of evidence, but you also despair at other times when he seems to lose ground with the jury.

In essence, this is a gripping courtroom drama, and the reason it is so is because it is well paced, engrossing and you really don't know to the very end how it is going to turn out. And, as with the very best of this type of novel, expect the unexpected. There are many twists along the way to its absorbing conclusion and towards the end I could not put it down.

So to return to the question of whether this book is better than Grisham, here is my verdict. In my opinion, it is definitely better than some and I rate it so highly that I would have to say that The Tenth Case is as good as Grisham's best. It really is that good and I am very glad that I read it.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If The Tenth Case appeals to you, why not read it and then compare it with one of John Grisham's such as The Appeal?

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Buy The Tenth Case by Joseph Teller at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Tenth Case by Joseph Teller at


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