Sunday, July 8, 2018

Book Review: 'The Weight' by Hubert Crouch

Tennessee author Hubert Crouch is a lawyer, having graduated from Phillips Andover Academy, Vanderbilt University, and Southern Methodist University School of Law. Hubert both practiced trial law in Texas while teaching Free Speech and the First Amendment, Public Speaking and Legal Advocacy to undergraduates at Southern Methodist University, receiving the Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award.

Apropos of his background, Hubert writes legal thrillers – CRIED FOR NO ONE, THE WORD – his Jace Forman Series - and now THE WIEGHT. His Jace Forman seems to be prepared to take on the status of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, Robert Penn Warren's Jack Burden, Ian Fleming's James Bond, but with enough distinctive elements to stand solidly on his – until someone does the obvious and options the rights for a film.

Hubert knows the inside of the courtroom well and is able to write about the atmosphere of a trial as well as anyone writing today. But he also has a keen take on personality traits and the adverse effects that can arise when people wearing blinders of fanatic beliefs join to make a dangerous force. The synopsis outlines the book well: ‘Flamboyant plaintiff lawyer Cal Connors sues reporter Leah Rosen, seeking millions in damages for being maliciously defamed in an article she wrote for Texas Matters magazine entitled “Texas Justice Gone Wrong.” In the article, Rosen accuses Connors of perpetrating a multi-million dollar fraud on the Texas jury system, her salacious charges catching the eye of the local US Attorney and causing him to launch a full-scale investigation. During the investigation, revelations surface that Connors’ law partner and daughter Christine clandestinely entered into an illegal settlement with an insurance claims adjustor, who was forced to flee to the French Riviera where he was subsequently found dead of a suspicious drug overdose. Cornered and desperate, Connors and his daughter go on a scorched-earth offensive of gruesome murders, a lurid kidnapping and treacherous betrayals to save themselves and the financial empire they have illicitly built.’

The manner in which he molds a mystery within those parameters is the epitome of tension in the courtroom as well as a profound respect for human rights. This is not only a powerful novel: it is also an important window onto the world as it can be imbalanced - and an opportunity for showing us how to right the scales. Very Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, July 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.