The Wrong Man (Jason Kolarich #3), by David Ellis

Eight stars

As my journey through the standalone work of David Ellis continues, I remain highly impressed with all he has to offer. His pieces shine and keep me wanting more, as they explore the legal world with a peppering of current events to keep the plot even thicker. Jason Kolarich has earned his reputation for being a gritty lawyer, mainly because he will go to the mat for his client, no matter their plight. When he is approached by a woman seeking help for her nephew, Kolarich is intrigued, but cannot fully commit quite yet. Tom Stoller is a former Army veteran who is now living on the streets. He is accused of killing Kathy Rubinkowski with a shot to the head. He was found with her belongings on his person and was apologizing for the act, an all but certain ticket to conviction. However, Kolarich sees a great deal of PTSD in Stoller and hears that he was involved in a shooting of a young girl while overseas. Could this be plaguing him after all this time? While Kolarich agrees to take the defence, he is visited by someone with ties to the local mob, asking some highly hypothetical questions. Kolarich is also coming out of his shell on a social level, creating ties with a woman who could prove more useful than a romantic tryst for him. Unable to push the trial into a continuance, Kolarich seeks to pry into the PTSD, but his client clams up and will be of no assistance with that. However, some background on the victim shows that her work at a law firm had her wondering about representation surrounding some highly intriguing substances, things that raise many a red flag for Kolarich. Might Kathy Rubinkowski have been killed for what she knew, leaving Tom Stoller as a scapegoat? Working as hard as he can, Kolarich seeks to convince others of this theory, even as the ADA seeks a slam dunk conviction, to no avail. In the background, something is going on that could make the trial and any verdict matter less than a hill of beans. A great piece that pulls on the heartstrings as well as keeping the reader fully committed. Ellis does so well with this and I’d recommend it to all who love gritty legal thrillers.

David Ellis is an author whose individual work I should have discovered long ago. His attention to detail and ability to pull the reader into the middle of it all cannot be missed. Jason Kolarich remains an integral part of the books and leads the story throughout. His grit and determination help him defend his clients as best he can, without getting caught up in the minutiae of their lives. His legal antics remain aboveboard, but tend to push the case in some interesting directions. He is not afraid to use his silver tongue in court and then pull out some needed fists to combat injustice as he sees it. Other characters help to add depth to the novel in ways that are highly effective. I found the story taking many turns and the strong characters made it all the more effective as the journey continued. The story took on some interesting topics that I feel Ellis handled well, without losing the legal angle that makes these novels so much fun to read. Layering situations and plot lines atop one another makes for some great storytelling and has me reaching for the final book in this series.

Kudos, Mr. Ellis, for more great legal writing. I will do my best to forge into the final novel right away.

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