Book Review: Silent Counsel by Ken Isaacson

Silent Silent Counsel by Ken Isaacson
Kindle, or Windermere Press (hardback).

I used the opportunity of my new Kindle to read this novel, which has been on my list for a while. I love legal thrillers and this one is well up there, combining a clearly expert knowledge with a crackingly fast plot on the theme of attorney-client privilege. 

At the outset, a hit-and-run driver in New Jersey, USA,  kills a young boy while doing excessive speeds on a residential street in his latest sports car. Vince Saldano, the driver, is a well-to-do businessman, and (portrayed as) relatively decent, hence he feels guilty for not stopping. He decides to visit a lawyer, Scott Heller, to find out whether there is any chance that he could deal with the prosecutor for a reduced sentence.  He takes the unusual step of asking Scott to promise not to reveal his name while Scott is negotiating with the DA’s office. Scott is unsuccessful in negotiating a plea bargain, and to the frustration of the police, says he cannot reveal his client’s identity. Soon, Scott himself is facing court action to question the legality of his stance.

Part of the plot of this exciting novel concerns Scott’s moral dilemma, and his increasing sense of nightmare as the fallout of Vince’s strategy spirals out of control. Another part of the book focuses on the personal costs of the crime, both to the parents (particularly the mother) of the dead boy, and to Scott’s own wife and young daughter, who are unsympathetic to his position. Soon, he and his family begin to understand the emotional effects of Vince’s action and the consequences of Scott’s decision to protect the man’s identity.

There are so many twists to this novel that it is hard to review it without giving away any of its clever secrets. The final chapters, in particular, provide punch after punch and had me clicking away madly (as I did not have any actual pages to turn!). Occasionally the author provides a few educational paragraphs about some arcane aspect of law or IP addresses, but that’s fine by me. I really liked his juxtaposition of the legal and procedural after-effects of a crime, together with its terrible human cost.  I don’t suppose this book will sell as well as John Grisham, but it is easily as good, if not better, and I can highly recommend it.

Amazon page for this book, including kudos from several  well-known crime authors and reviewers.

Other reviews of this book by Harriet Klausner, Powell's books and Jen's Book Thoughts.

Author's website.

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Silent Counsel by Ken Isaacson

  1. Maxine – Lovely review! I haven’t a Kindle yet, so I’m going to have to add this one to my paper TBR list. You’ve done it again!!! 😉 I also, by the way, agree with you that giving the reader some information while telling a story can be very effective if it’s done well. I’m glad Isaaacson pulls it off as well as he does.

  2. This sounds good! Love crackling legal thrillers. It’s going on my list.

  3. Another comment: I can’t imagine reading a page-turner without pages! That’s half the fun to me.

  4. Bernadette, it’s been on my list for ages so when I got my Kindle I checked and it was 1/3 the price (actually, less than 1/3 the price)!
    Kathy, it was rather strange, clicking instead of feverishly turning, I think the person next to me on the train thought I was a bit strange…or very strange….

  5. I also think this one sounds really tempting. But like Kathy, I cannot see myself clicking through a page-turner. I won´t say I will *never* buy a Kindle, though, but I think I would find myself in the same situation as Bernadette, or probably even worse, because if I cannot buy English books legally in Denmark, there is absolutely no point in bying one.

  6. Thanks, Dorte, just to add, I have no interest in illegal downloads of books. This one was purchased fair and square from Amazon – their e-price is a lot cheaper than their hardback price for this title.
    Also, I did not buy this Kindle, it was given to me as a gift (by someone who I think was quite interested in the gadget). I would not have bought one myself, but so far I have rather enjoyed this generous present.

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