Against the Law (Edward Hall #1), by Jay Brandon

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Jay Brandon, and Severn House Publishers for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Jay Brandon has crafted this wonderful legal thriller that pulls the story into the courtroom, where a woman’s life hangs in the balance. Edward Hall is startled to hear from his sister, Amy, who finds herself in some legal hot water. Dr. Hill is accused of killing her estranged husband, Paul Shilling. Amy admits to being at his home, though is adamant that she did not gun him down. Edward may be compassionate to her plight, but has issues of his own. Edward recently served jail time for a crime committed at the Houston courthouse when he was an up and coming star in the DA’s office. As such, he has had his licence suspended and is still technically not able to practice law. That does not deter Amy in hiring her brother, who is sure that he can offer some much needed advice. As the trial approaches, Edward realises that he may be put in the position of defending his sister and will have to face the ramifications of his legal issues later. When they are assigned a strict judge for the murder trial, Edward cannot help but remember that this woman was once his colleague at the DA’s office and is intricately tied to the crime he committed. Giving it his all, Edward must face insurmountable odds to defend his sister, though her defence is weak and a key piece of evidence has been placed before the jury, sure to tip the scales against them. Facing a potential death sentence if she is convicted, Amy must hope the brother she has always idolised can pull out a miracle in the courtroom, where he’s made quite a name for himself. Brandon does a wonderful job with this story, pulling on heartstrings and legal manoeuvres alike. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys a legal thriller with the courtroom as the key setting.

This is my first Jay Brandon novel, but I am sure it will not be my last. He writing strength comes not only from his legal descriptions, but also the detailed characters and delivery throughout this piece. Edward Hall is a wonderfully complex character that shapes the direction of this novel on numerous occasions. The backstory on offer is well balanced with some of the development throughout the novel, as short as the timeline might be. Seeing not only the legal drama that Hall has overcome but the personal and familial struggles he suffered do pull the reader into the middle of it all, perhaps in hopes of trying to personalise him and tipping the scales in his favour. Amy Hall Shilling is another wonderful character who seems to undervalue the extent of the legal hot water in which she finds herself, more focussed on her innocence than the trial and pitfalls that continue to crop up. Brandon does well to portray her as the lost sheep, seeking her brother to guide the way, even when he is barely able to keep his head above water. The story is intriguing, and what it lacks in uniqueness it makes up for in its alluring legal antics. The story flows well and keeps the reader guessing until the very end, hoping that Edward will be able to pull a rabbit out of the proverbial hat when faced with such trying odds. Brandon has done a masterful job and keeps the narrative moving such that the reading experience will surely lead to late nights for the reader.

Kudos, Mr. Brandon, for this powerful piece. I am eager to read more of your work in the coming years.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: