2008: #44 – Death by Rodrigo (Ron Liebman)

15281667 Book #44 was Death by Rodrigo, the first in a new series by Ron Liebman.  The back of the book reads:

When El Salvadoran crime boss Rodrigo González is finally nabbed in Camden, New Jersey, for high-volume drug trafficking, he hires criminal defense attorneys Mickie Mezzonatti and Salvatore “Junne” Salerno, Jr. He’s been told they’re the best and that, as former Camden police officers, they know all the blind spots and loopholes (read: the ins and outs) of the local courts. All Rodrigo asks of Junne and Mickie is that they get him out on bond so he can jump bail and escape back to the comforts of El Salvador. Problem is, the judge denies bail. Soon Mezzonatti and Salerno are receiving a few unwelcome guests — friends of Rodrigo — asking questions. And the boys need to find answers, fast.

Mickie and Junne have an enviable professional success rate. With their street smarts and learned-on-the-job courtroom skills, the blue-collar boys enjoy trouncing self-righteous, Ivy-educated district attorneys. But they also know when they need help. Like with Rodrigo.

So they approach Professor Mumbles, a brilliant though eccentric former white-shoe lawyer who suffered a spectacular corporate burnout. As Junne and Mickie duck and dive to make Rodrigo’s case (or at least fake it with Mumbles’s help), they’re also juggling their regular caseload — like local drug lord Slippery Williams, whose badass nephew may have turned informant; and the gorgeous hooker Little Chip, whose prostitution bust leaves her pimp hopping mad. And through it all, the boys attempt to keep a happy home life. That’s no sweat for Mickie, a natural Casanova, but it may prove to be trickier than Junne ever imagined. ‘Cause he’s got a secret. And if Rodrigo does not kill him, his family just might….

The first installment of a hilarious new series, Death by Rodrigo is a romp through the seamy side of criminal law by one of the foremost attorneys in America (who also has a wicked sense of humor).

I thought this was an interesting series opener. I picked it up at random from the library after seeing it compared to Janet Evanovich. I didn’t really see the comparison, but I thought it stood well on its own. It has humor, but not the absurdities you find in a Stephanie Plum book. Junne isn’t your typical lawyer, and the situation he and Mickie find themselves in isn’t your typical situation. I’m curious to see what direction the series takes, and whether Junne will ever find happiness — or even contentment.

Page count: 288 | Approximate word count: 86,400

2007: Cards on the Table (Agatha Christie)
2006: Turning Angel (Greg Iles)
2005: King’s Oak (Anne Rivers Siddons)

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