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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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Drama of the Law

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While working on the release of my third novel in early 2018, I had a casual interview with 8Grand Publications.

Drama of the Law: Top Legal Thriller Novels by 8Grand Publications

There is an endless list of legal thriller novels. Which ones are the best? As Mark Bello prepares to release his 3rd legal thriller in early 2018, we asked him how it compares to his first two novels and which he likes best. Here’s what Mark had to say:

“I always try to write the best novel I can. Whether ‘this book’ is better than ‘that book’ is a matter of taste and something for the reader to decide. As for me, here are five of my all-time favorite legal thrillers:”

1. Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver

First published in 1958, Anatomy of a Murder immediately became the number-one bestseller, and was subsequently turned into a successful film.

This is the story of a murder and trial, set in a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. At forty, Paul ”Polly” Biegler’s world seemed to have come to an end: after ten years as DA. That is until he gets a phone call from Laura Mannion whose husband, was arrested for murder. Suddenly, Polly sees his opportunity to show that he can defend as well as prosecute. What follows is one of the most brilliant courtroom dramas of all time.

Travers raised the bar on legal thrillers with his attention to correct legal procedure and a memorable finale.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird is an unforgettable novel of a young girl confronting deep-seated prejudice.

Set in the segregated South in the 1930s, To Kill a Mockingbird is told through the eyes of six-year-old Scout Finch. Readers learn about her father Atticus Finch, an attorney who hopelessly strives to prove the innocence of a black man unjustly accused of rape; and about Boo Radley, a mysterious neighbor who saves Scout and her brother Jem from being killed.

It is hard to argue the message of this novel – standing up for what is right even when the cost is high.

The book won the Pulitzer Prize and has become one of the most widely touted books regarding race of all time – so much that it is rightfully required curriculum in most school systems.

3. 12 Angry Men by Reginald Rose

Admittedly, 12 Angry Men is not a novel, but it is still considered among the most compelling of all legal thrillers.

When 12 jurors are unanimously prepared to sentence a 16-year-old boy for the murder of his father, one not-so-convinced juror stands up to the majority and brings them, one-by-one, to the verdict of not guilty. While it may not be a novel, 12 Angry Men is a must read!

It is a landmark American drama that inspired a classic film.

4. Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

Presumed Innocent brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of crimes

Prosecutor Rusty Sabich is transformed from accuser to the accused when he is handed an explosive case–that of the brutal murder of a woman who happens to be his former lover. Fighting to prove his innocence, Rusty uncovers a tangled web of sex, corruption and betrayal. With no one to trust, it’s up to Rusty to uncover who is really behind this deadly crime.

It covers a high-stakes criminal trial, the intrigue of a big-city political drama, and the marital tensions of the best character-driven novel

Few would disagree that Presumed Innocent blazed a trail for other writer-lawyers like John Grisham and Richard North Patterson.

5. A Time to Kill by John Grisham

A Time to Kill is emotionally charged thriller of retribution and justice.

The mostly white town of Clanton in Ford County, Mississippi, reacts with shock and horror when a ten-year-old black girl is raped by two drunk white men. That is until the little girl’s father acquires an assault rifle and takes justice into his own hands. When extremists outside Clanton hear that a black man has killed two white men, they invade the town, determined to destroy anything and anyone that opposes their sense of justice. For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets, the nation sits spellbound as a young defense attorney struggles to save his client’s life–and then his own.

A Time to Kill was Grisham’s first novel. It was rejected by many publishers and didn’t get recognition until after the success of The Firm. Now, it’s arguably his most celebrated novel and has been adapted to both a Broadway play and a major motion picture.

Please share in the comments your favorite legal thriller.

Mark M. Bello is an attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series. He is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation, a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.