Friday, February 25, 2011

No Legal Grounds, by James Scott Bell

Here's the very fun thing about limiting review copies these days. I can FINALLY take the time to read books that friends recommend and loan to me. Hurrah!

One such book was No Legal Grounds, by James Scott Bell which I have had on my shelf for longer than I am willing to admit. (But I was finally able to give it back to the friend who loaned it to me!) That said, it did come down off the shelf at the perfect time because Jonathan and I have recently gotten into the legal drama/comedy/murder mystery series - Castle. (Raise your hand if you are fan! Sometimes gruesome murders aside, the show is written remarkably well and kudos to the other friend who recommended to us in the first place! She was right! We love it.)

No Legal Grounds is a piece of Christian fiction published by Zondervan. I say that because if you are at all familiar with Zondervan, that should leave you with a certain impression which I'm wondering whether or not I should spell out. (I have a certain impression of Zondervan and the laxness which I witness in their "Christian" materials. There. I've sort of spelled it out.) In the case of a legal thriller though, it almost rather suits. I dislike a lot of Christian fiction because it's written poorly, is not very believable, and is just sloppy stuff. I did, however, very much enjoy No Legal Grounds.

This is a legal thriller and kept me in suspense. Because of that, it's open to spoilers if I say too much about it. Instead I'll just tell you that the protagonist is an attorney named Sam who is a relatively new believer with some family struggles as a result of their past. Without warning, a "voice from the past" comes into his present and wrecks havoc with his family.

From the back cover:

"Suddenly Sam faces a danger more real than he ever imagined - danger from someone who will not rest until Sam's life comes crashing down around him. Desperate, Sam seeks protection from the law he's served all his life. But when the threats are turned on his family, and the law seems powerless to protect them, Sam must consider a choice that strikes at the heart of his life and faith - whether to take the law into his own hands."

Content that I would say is most important to be aware of:

Sam's daughter is a seventeen year old on the run from God. She wants to get into the rock music scene, and there are alcohol and drugs involved. Her life is in danger at a certain point as well. If you have a daughter (or one on the way!) this can be mentally and emotionally disturbing in points.

Otherwise, if you take it for a good, fun legal thriller - it is that. If you like either the Monk or Castle television shows, chances are you will like this book as well. It also reminded me of a good Harrison Ford "family-man-protecting-his-loved-ones" flick. Apparently James Scott Bell has written several such books and I think I'd like to read some others. Not any time soon, mind you. But it's good to know of him for when I'm feeling "in the mood" for some legal action that doesn't directly involve or affect me. (smile)


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a book I'd enjoy reading!!

Liz said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I'm adding to my list. I also hate shallow Christian books, so I appreciate your opinion.

Barbara H. said...

I'm trying to think if I have ever read anything by him. I can't remember -- seems the one or two things I looked at were a little too scary-sounding for me. But this sounds good.

We LOVE Castle! So witty, and I love the relationship he has with his daughter.

Unknown said...

SO many people keep recommending Castle. I've GOT to start watching!! I feel like I need to catch up.

Shonya said...

Sounds like one I would enjoy! I agree with the frustration at the christian publishing market having lower standards for writers. This sounds like a book I would enjoy--thanks for the recommendation!

Carrie said...

Barbara H. - YES! Castle and his daughter have an awesome relationship. I like how it is developing as well.

Jennifer - Yes. YOU would really like Castle. A LOT I suspect! Let me know if/when you give it a try!

Ronnica said...

I've long since realized that I don't really enjoy reading review copies...more misses than hits. Glad you're enjoying it, too!

Anonymous said...

My book club read this a few years back. We liked it mostly, but it wasn't for everyone. The sociopath was scary to some.

Sky said...

I wondered what 'Castle' was about! I may have to try that.
Bell's book sounds interesting, I am curious as to how it compares to John Grisham (particularly the older books).

Cindy Swanson said...

I have yet to read anything by James Scott Bell, although I've heard really good things about him. Your review made me want to read this book!

I wanted to let you know that I linked to you on my book blog today. I'm trying different tactics to introduce readers to the blog, which is really struggling to find readership.

Hope you'll stop by and visit:

Janet said...

This sounds good -- and Castle sounds interesting too.

bekahcubed said...

Hmmm... Not sure how into the whole thriller scene I am. I've liked a few I've read, but they're not the kind of books I normally gravitate towards.

I've given you a blog award at bekahcubed--don't feel obligated to "pick it up", but please do feel honored. I love reading your blog.

Stephanie Kay said...

We love Castle!! My one complaint is that there is a lot of gratuitous sex or activities related to sex. I could do without that. But I love the interaction among the main characters.

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