I’ve just finished reading a wonderful book by Robert Bailey.
The Professor is easily going to be one of my reading highlights for 2014.
It’s a legal thriller that will have you enraptured from the very beginning and will keep you enthralled to the very end.
Summary: Tom McMurtrie was a former champion in the courtroom, yet he gave it all up to be a law professor, having been persuaded by the Man – the legendary Coach ‘Bear’ Bryant from his footballing days. After 40 years of teaching, Tom is forced to resign his post on the basis of some very dodgy evidence. Having lost his wife a few years before, Tom lacks the strength to fight this injustice and is further hampered by illness, which sees him retreat to his family home, out of the spotlight. He is contacted by a former good friend, whose family has been killed in a trucking incident. She asks for his help to find out the truth about the accident. He refers the case to one of his students of old – one with whom he has had a stormy relationship. What unfolds then is the discovery of the lengths that greedy businessmen will go to, in order to save their own skin and wealth. Murder, bribery and blackmail ensue as the main witnesses to the accident are killed off or go ‘missing’ and are unable to prove the case for the defence team. Tom’s student flounders in the courtroom, but the professor returns to bring hope to the fledgling lawyer.
Writing: The writing is so strong, hooking the reader in from the outset. The characters are so well drawn, being polar opposites of each other – the good, well-intentioned and hopeful versus the cruel, ruthless and unmerciful. This is a story of good versus evil, the vulnerable underdog seeking redress from the wealthy tycoon. The reader experiences the full gamut of emotions, empathizing with the defence and despising their uncaring opponents. Outside of the courtroom the relationships between the main characters enable us to understand the decisions they make. Tom’s illness is wearing him down, but his staunchest friends rally round him to show their support. When his faithful dog Musso saves Tom from a rabid bobcat, and in doing loses his own life, Tom realises that he has so much more to do in life and his return to the courtroom is a fitting tribute to his canine buddy.
My thoughts: The author clearly knows how to spin a tale of suspense, his knowledge of the law is evident and is woven into this masterpiece with due diligence and care. This is by far my favourite genre to read and I can’t wait to read the next offering from Mr. Bailey. As for the title of my blog post, let me enlighten you:
Suspense – favourite genre,
Setting – Birmingham, Alabama (as a brummie from the UK, I am always intrigued by the city with the same name across the sea. It never fails to amaze me how different two places with a shared name can be, and it will always fascinate me),
Musso the dog – his brave death was heartbreaking and, as a devoted dog owner, I’m a sucker for a doggy tale,
Law – one of the most interesting subjects I ever studied and one of my biggest regrets that I didn’t pursue it further (I now get my fix with legal thrillers!!)
A few of my favourite things all wrapped up in a superb novel, definitely one to watch.
Thank you Robert Bailey.