Celadon will be publishing M. T. Edvardsson’s A Nearly Normal Family next month. It’s a gripping story about a defense lawyer who has to wonder if her 18-year-old daughter could have killed someone. Getting ready for the event, we’re going back to the 10 best legal thrillers of all time. From international blockbusters to little-known gems, these classics have the best courtroom drama without you having to show up for jury duty.
Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
In Illinois, Roat “Rusty” Sabich is the chief deputy prosecuting attorney for Kindle County. When a beautiful and ambitious colleague is found dead in her apartment, Sabich takes the case. Carolyn Polhemus, on the other hand, was not just a coworker. She was also Rusty’s lover. There are more and more signs that there was an affair. Rusty goes from being a lead prosecutor to being the main suspect. Soon, he will be on trial for his life. It doesn’t matter if he is an innocent person or a cold-blooded killer. You won’t know until you finish Scott Turow’s first book, which is full of philosophical insight, real information about how a big-city courtroom works, and a fast-paced mystery plot that sets the standard for modern legal thrillers.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
It turns out that Harper Lee, the daughter of a lawyer, was very interested in the criminal justice system. She helped her friend Truman Capote research In Cold Blood. She also came close to finishing her own work of true crime. As a result, this beloved coming-of-age book has some of the best courtroom scenes in American literature. Atticus Finch defends his client, Tom Robinson, from the false accusation that he raped an African-American woman, and the courtroom scenes are some of the best in American literature. Atticus is a good lawyer because he is trustworthy, fair, and willing to stand up for what’s right, even if it costs him his own life.
The Firm by John Grisham
He can make Xeroxing into an exciting adventure. A lot of authors wouldn’t try to do that. But then again, very few authors have written a new international bestseller every year for the last 30 years. In this book, Grisham tells the story of a Harvard Law School grad who uncovers dirty secrets at a Memphis law firm. There are the FBI, the Mafia, and the head of security at the company who is obsessed with killing people. Mitch McDeere makes a quick run for the Xerox machine. Breakneck speed and a good sense of the temptations that come with being able to change the law made The Firm a big hit for Grisham. It made him a big name in thriller writing.
Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver
Frederic “Manny” Manion, a US Army lieutenant, confesses to killing an innkeeper but says that the man raped his wife. This 1958 book is often called the first legal thriller. When Paul Biegler finds out that Manion doesn’t remember pulling the trigger, he comes up with a new defense strategy: not guilty by reason of “irresistible impulse,” which is a kind of temporary insanity. The legal fight between Biegler and the prosecution is even more exciting because it is based in fact. This shows that there are few places on Earth that are more dramatic than a courtroom.
The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
Mickey Haller is a lawyer in Los Angeles who works in the back of his Lincoln Town Car. He also happens to be the half-brother of Michael Connelly’s best-known character, LAPD detective Harry Bosch, so that makes him even better. It will cost a lot of time and money for Haller to defend a wealthy realtor who is accused of assault. Instead, he meets pure evil. With an innocent man in danger, Haller will have to bend the law until it breaks down. The Lincoln Lawyer made Connelly a big name in the legal thriller world. It was full of gritty details, dark humor, and action that made Connelly a big name.
A Covenant with Death by Stephen Becker
At the start of 1923, this New York Times bestseller is set in a small town in New Mexico. Frontier justice and modern courtroom ethics clash in this story. A 29-year-old judge named Ben Lewis has to carry out the death sentence for Bryan Talbot, even though he doesn’t like the case very much. Lewis will have to think about more than just his duty to the law. He will also have to think about his own fate. He was a big fan of other writers like John Irving, Joe Haldeman, and Michael Chabon.
Defending Jacob by William Landay
Presumed Innocent is often compared to this thriller because it has a prosecuting attorney who is more involved in a murder case than he first admits. It’s not Andy Barber’s 14-year-old son Jacob, though, who’s charged with murder in this case. The victim was a classmate of Jacob’s and a bully, but Andy wants the police to look into a pedophile in the area. It’s only when new evidence comes to light that Jacob is arrested and taken to court.
Landay, a former prosecutor, brings a lot of knowledge of the law to the courtroom scenes and paints a heartbreaking picture of a family in trouble, too. But it’s the book’s terrifying ending that will keep you awake at night.
Mistaken Identity by Lisa Scottoline
Bennie Rosato, the head of an all-women law firm, has made her money by taking down bad cops. She believes Alice Connolly when she says that her boyfriend, who was killed by police, was dealing drugs. Alice claims that she and Bennie are identical twins, but the lawyer who is trying to help them doesn’t believe her. Bennie has to save Alice from the electric chair until a DNA test can figure out the truth. Mistaken Identity is one of the best books in the Rosato & Associates series, which is always full of thrills, romance, and intense courtroom scenes.
The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter
Years ago, Judge Oliver Garland’s Supreme Court nomination was thrown out because he was linked to a CIA agent who was on the run. When the judge dies, it’s up to his son, Talcott, to make sure that everything is done. In this book, Talcott finds hidden connections between his father’s humiliation in front of the public, the death of his sister in a hit-and-run accident, and a network of corruption that goes all the way to the top of the government.
Carter is a Yale Law School professor who knows a lot about the federal court system and the world of New England’s black upper class. This makes The Emperor of Ocean Park one of the most eye-opening legal thrillers of the last 20 years.
The Legal Limit by Martin Clark
Gates Hunt has been a criminal his whole life. His brother, Mason, is a successful lawyer who has a great wife and daughter. For selling cocaine to an undercover cop, Gates gets a long prison sentence. He tries to get out of it by claiming that Mason is guilty of a crime that hasn’t been solved. Gates isn’t telling the whole truth.
Clark is a circuit court judge in rural Stuart, Virginia, and he based this story on one of his cases. It is both profound and often funny. There is a lot of material for the author to work with when it comes to the differences between the letter of the law and how justice works in real life. His writing is like a mix of John Grisham and Elmore Leonard.