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Dept of Political Science
341 Schaeffer Hall
20 E. Washington Street
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
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This is my list of fiction books of a legal or judicial nature that I thought worthwhile. They are listed in alphabetical order by author.
Grisham, John, The Firm, The Client, The Pelican Brief. I suppose you would have to be living under a rock not to know about either Grisham's books or the movies that have been made from them. The critics have not been particularly kind to Grisham's books, suggesting that they lack depth, etc. Perhaps, but if you are interested in light reading with a legal storyline, these are pretty good. The Firm is the story of a law school hot shot that gets a job working in a mob-related law firm and how he manages to save himself and get rich at the same time. (I should note that the book was much better than the movie--though I suppose that's not saying a lot.) In The Client, a kid sees a mob guy kill himself and then hires an attorney who has more heart than luck to protect him from the good guys and the bad guys. The Pelican Brief is about a law student who discovers a plot to kill a Supreme Court Justice. I've only read these three Grisham books, though I saw the movie version of The Runaway Jury and it was intersting.
Harris, Thomas, The Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon. Both books involve attempts to catch a serial killer, and both involve the character Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter. In Silence, the FBI has to seek the help of the captured Lecter to catch another serial killer. Dragon is basically more of the same.
Lee, Harper, To Kill a Mockingbird. This book is really a "growing up" story of a small girl in a Southern town of the depression-era. The girl's father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer and there is an important trial in the story, which makes it worth listing here.
Lindsay, David, Mercy. Here a Houston dectective is tracking a serial killer. The twist is that the murders take place in the context of sexual role-playing and the victims seem to know their killers. Needless to say, this book contains a fairly strong sexual element, but the story is good and offers some interesting twists.