Is it right to get revenge on someone’s descendants who have undeniably made your family suffer? In the eyes of the law, a crime is a crime—no matter what excuse drives the criminal to act. Max Menuchen is a biblical scholar who almost takes his rage too far when he discovers that the family members who were responsible for the death of his relatives during the Holocaust almost fifty years ago, live in his neighborhood. He secretly plots to attempt a murder in exchange for the lives that were taken from his ancestry.
Abe Ringel, who is a trial lawyer, takes on the case to defend Menuchen after the elderly man makes the move to commit a crime against one of the youngest people in the enemy’s family. How are his actions explained in court and can they ever be pardoned? Does Menuchen confess that his plan is illogical? Who are the real guilty parties and who are innocent? How does the trial eventually come to a verdict?
When people murder or become criminals because of revenge, the stakes could be very high and equally unstable. We see this play out in Dershowitz’s novel. Somehow, the person who is found guilty of the crime feels that they were justified in their actions because they were the first or original victim. The issues that drive people mad can vary from racism to jealousy between lovers, to thieving, to cheating someone from money and then the biggest being—murder of a loved one or someone important.
This novel really brings revenge to the heart of the story and how it can be dealt with in a courtroom. No matter what the reason, complicated situations that involve anything as heavy as the Holocaust or Civil rights can usually be a double-edged sword. It really forces one to think about how society views certain tragedies and certainly, more attention is needed to figure out how justice can be served so that everyone is at peace, while the outcome remains fair.
HisLit title read-alikes:
If you read this particular book and enjoyed it, here are some other novels that you may want to pick up.
The Halls of Justice by Lee Gruenfeld
Counterplay by Robert K. Tannenbaum
Beach Road by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge
HisLit author read-alikes:
This time around I could not get any suggestions from Novelist because we either did not have the authors or the books we did have were non-fiction. I tried gathering authors who have written about revenge that involve legal fiction.
-John Grisham (Of course I had to mention him. He is the author who set the foundation for legal fiction. Grisham’s stories often entail people who are out to get revenge and end up in the courtroom or lawyers who are pushed to the limit with certain cases from people they are trying to defend or put in jail. Start with The Last Juror if you want to read specifically about people taking justice into their own hands.)
-Jeff Stetson (We only have one book by this author, but his title Blood on the Leaves, has to do with racism issues. The convicted person happens to be a civil rights leader who takes revenge against white people who were acquitted for hate crimes. Definitely a controversial case.)
-David Ellis (He writes mostly in the line of legal fiction, so pretty much anything you read from him will satisfy your tastes for courtroom drama. Start with Line of Vision.)
With titles and authors such as the ones mentioned above, you are sure to find something that will feed your hunger for justice or at least see how certain cases can take fascinating turns with the law.