Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Defender of the Innocent: The Casebook of Martin Ehfrengraf - Book Review

I wanted to like this one - it's no secret I'm a fan of Lawrence Block and since I knew everyone would be reading his A Walk Among the Tombstones in anticipation of the movie (you've read the book, haven't you?  And seen the excellent move?  No?  Take my advice:  treat yourself to both.), I wanted to try something of his I hadn't read.  I was familiar with this character and may have even read an Ehfrengraf story or two in the dim past so I thought, why not?  Block hasn't let me down yet.

And he hasn't let me down with this book, either, I guess.  It's just not my thing.  Ehfrengraf is a defense attorney who, well, like the title says, defends the innocent.  Even if they're guilty.  And he'll stop at nothing to prove their innocence.  Which is the hook - how will Ehfrengraf be able to prove his client's innocence in the face of overwhelming evidence?  He's no Perry Mason and his methods are unconventional to say the least but after a story or two, you get what this is all about.  While he may come across as dapper and charming, he's a sociopath and I have no desire to read about sociopaths.

Block is skillful as always, keeping the action offstage but telling the stories in a way to keep you interested and so I admired that.  But I have to admit, I found myself trudging to the end and if it weren't for my goal to give the entire book a chance, I wouldn't have given the entire book a chance.  Block is a great writer.  This isn't a great book.

(I bought the Kindle version - I'm not sure there's a print edition - and I'm not sure if I'm pleased with the experience.  It's there on my Kindle if I want to re-read it again but I won't so now what do I do with it?)

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