Book Review: A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer

jeffrey archer a prisoner of birth

Again, this is one of those books that I picked up from a garage sale.  I’d never heard of the author.  I didn’t even read the synopsis.  I just bought it, brought it home, stuck it on my bookshelves and started reading one day. 

I truly enjoyed this book.  It took a day or two for me to really get into it but once there was an injustice and there were wrongs that needed to be righted I was alllll over it.  Plus, I totally fell in love with the characters.  The main character, Danny Cartwright, is compelling in his own way but I truly fell for the supporting characters more than anything else.  Sir Nicholas Moncrieff, a fellow cellmate of Danny’s and his other cellmate Big Al were such wonderfully written and perfectly thought-out characters.  Then there’s Alex Redmayne, Danny’s tenacious defense lawyer, and his father the Hon. Sir Matthew Redmayne.  What a team they make!  If I’m ever in a legal mess, I want them to come defend me. 

I don’t want to give too much away because there are several stories and secrets going on in this book but let’s just say you won’t be bored.  It’s so much more than just a guy being wrongly accused of murder.  It’s been billed as a contemporary retelling of Alexander Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo.

What a fantastic read!  Here’s hoping I come across another Jeffrey Archer book in a garage sale sometime soon!

If Danny Cartwright had proposed to Beth Wilson the day before, or the day after, he would not have been arrested and charged with the murder of his best friend. And when the four prosecution witnesses are a barrister, a popular actor, an aristocrat and the youngest partner in an established firm’s history, who is going to believe his side of the story?

Danny is sentenced to 22 years and sent to Belmarsh prison, the highest security jail in the land, from where no inmate has ever escaped. But Spencer Craig, Lawrence Davenport, Gerald Payne and Toby Mortimer all underestimate Danny’s determination to seek revenge and Beth’s relentless quest to win justice, which forces all four protagonists to fight for their lives.

Synopsis from here.  

Remember, today is the 14th so it’s your day to practice a Random Act of Kindness in honor of Sandy Hook Elementary.  I’d love to hear what you do!  Please feel free to leave comments!  I will be posting my RAOK on the 16th.  See you then!

raok sandy hook

Book Review: Lady Killer by Lisa Scottoline

Sadly, I didn’t enjoy this book at all. I couldn’t wait for it to be over.  I’m sort of sad about that because this book had great potential if there’d been a completely different leading character.  Here’s the synopsis from Barnes and Noble

Mary DiNunzio has become a big-time business-getter at Rosato & Associates. But the last person she expects to walk into her office one morning—in mile-high stilettos—is super-sexy Trish Gambone, her high-school rival. Back when Mary was becoming the straight-A president of the Latin Club and Most Likely to Achieve Sainthood, Trish was the head Mean Girl, who flunked religion and excelled at smoking in the bathroom.

These days, however, Trish needs help. She is terrified of her live-in boyfriend, an abusive, gun-toting drug dealer for the South Philly mob. Mary remembers the guy from high school, too. She had a major crush on him.

Then Trish vanishes, a dead body turns up in an alley, and Mary is plunged into a nightmare that threatens her job, her family, and even her life. She goes on a one-woman crusade to unmask the killer, and on the way finds new love in a very unexpected place.

Want to know my problem with this book? The main character (Mary) is a big, giant weenie.  I mean we’re talking a total pushover.  No, that doesn’t even cover it… she’s a doormat.  She gets pushed around, insulted, and guilted throughout the entire book and she just takes it.  I just kept wanting her to stand up for herself.  God help the person ever stupid enough to talk to me the way that people talk to her in this book.  Grrrr…. It just made me angry!

If you can get around her being a complete and utter wuss, then the book probably is pretty good.  There’s lots of interesting backstory and it’s a fairly decent ‘who dun it.’  It didn’t sell me though, and although this is the first Lisa Scottoline that I’ve ever read, I won’t be hurrying to grab another off a bookshelf anytime soon.

Book Review: The Associate by John Grisham

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I am, obviously, behind the times.  This is the first John Grisham book I’ve ever read.  The Firm, his first book, was published in 1991 and was a hit back then so I’m a little late to the game. 

I have to say that I started reading this with some fervor and was rather enthralled until about the last quarter of the book.  Honestly, I could see most of the story being rather believable up until that point.  I’d give the first three quarters of the book four stars, and the last quarter two stars so we’re giving this sucker a mid-grade so-so rating.  As I’d say… ‘meh.’  Sadly I don’t have a whole lot to say for the book other than that, mostly because if you want to read it I don’t want to give anything away. 

I will say that I was talking to someone I work with about the book and he said ‘oh you should have started with The Firm’ so I take that to mean that there are better Grisham books out there. 

Also, I’ve been told numerous times that I’d make a good lawyer.  Reading this book made me happy I never decided to pursue that path.  I’m sure that not all firms are handled the way that they’re portrayed in the book but considering my luck I’m sure I would have ended up in one just like that. 

Here’s the overview from Barnes & Noble:  

If you thought Mitch McDeere was in trouble in The Firm, wait until you meet Kyle McAvoy, The Associate

Kyle McAvoy grew up in his father’s small-town law office in York, Pennsylvania. He excelled in college, was elected editor-in-chief of The Yale Law Journal, and his future has limitless potential.

But Kyle has a secret, a dark one, an episode from college that he has tried to forget. The secret, though, falls into the hands of the wrong people, and Kyle is forced to take a job he doesn’t want—even though it’s a job most law students can only dream about.

Three months after leaving Yale, Kyle becomes an associate at the largest law firm in the world, where, in addition to practicing law, he is expected to lie, steal, and take part in a scheme that could send him to prison, if not get him killed.

With an unforgettable cast of characters and villains—from Baxter Tate, a drug-addled trust fund kid and possible rapist, to Dale, a pretty but seemingly quiet former math teacher who shares Kyle’s “cubicle” at the law firm, to two of the most powerful and fiercely competitive defense contractors in the country—and featuring all the twists and turns that have made John Grisham the most popular storyteller in the world, The Associate is vintage Grisham.