The Attorney

Title: The Attorney
Author: Carolyn Levine Topol
Cover artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Length: Novella, 106 pages
Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars

A guest review by Sirius

Summary: This sweet but with not much depth story would have benefitted from some research about the profession the main character is allegedly so good at.

Blurb:

The Male Room, Book Two

Attorney Sam Solomon is the most desired trick in the back room of the Music Box, his town’s most notorious gay club—and very possibly the loneliest. Sam is tired of one-night stands, and although he likes the world to think he’s too tough for such romantic notions, he secretly longs for the love his friends Jeff and Craig seem to have found. Fortunately for him, he’s just helped set his friends up in business. They run The Male Room, a local Internet dating service for gay men, and Jeff has just the guy in mind for Sam.

Chris Kelly is the last person Sam expected. From his profile, Sam knows that Chris is strong, opinionated, and dominant… in fact, he’s a lot like Sam! Sam may very well have met his match; he just needs to concede that the man he’s falling in love with needs to be his partner in every sense of the word.

Review:

This is the second story in the The Male Room series by this author, but I can assure you that it can be read as a standalone. I also see on the Dreamspinner Press site that the third book is going to be out soon. I am assuming that another couple will find love thanks to the Internet Dating Service named the Male Room. This story is about Sam who is a friend of the two guys who founded the service. As the blurb tells us, he is tired of one night stands, wants more and the Male Room sets him up on a date. His date turns out to be unexpectedly compatible and they feel a strong connection, but Sam has to learn to compromise and adjust to let the other man be his equal.

Even though the length of the story is listed as 106 pages, it felt much shorter to me. I started and finished it on my subway ride to work, which takes me a little over an hour usually. I do read very fast, so it is possible that it will take you longer. When I was reading about their relationship, I thought it was a pleasant little time-waster. I cannot say that it was anything more than that, but both guys are nice, and it was enjoyable enough to read about them figuring out what they want and what they need to do to actually make their relationship last. I wish their portrayals were more memorable since besides their professions I saw little difference in their personalities, but it was pleasant overall.

Unfortunately during the course of the story, we are also treated to a glimpse into Sam’s professional life, who, as title of the story claims, is “The Attorney”. Supposedly, since he became one of the partners so fast, he is a very good attorney. I had a lot of trouble believing this, though, and this aspect of the story ruined it for me.

[Warning: I am getting on my soapbox] I have to wonder if before starting the story the writer actually talked to a real litigation attorney to find out what makes a good litigator, how court proceedings actually take place, what rulings real judges actually make and how they try to move their cases along. Personally I doubt it very much.

Here is just one example: the author shows us one case in Sam’s career which is very important to him on several levels. Apparently though, the case is so important to him that he does not want to “rehearse” the witnesses for this case, because that will take a real emotion out of their testimony. Um, sorry, no…just no. You prepare your witness before said witness takes the stand, and if you do not, you do not know what you are doing. Preparing the witness just means knowing what the witness will say in advance. Knowing what your witness is going to say takes precedent over any other consideration. There will be plenty of time for you to want to tear your hair out when the other side rattles your witness on cross-examination, and you will have to do damage control, but when you do not know what your witness is going to say next because you have not prepared him/her, then that is plain incompetence. But the best part of this ridiculousness was the conclusion that it was a good thing that the lawyer lost control of his witness. See, the witness testified so well that he single-handedly won the case with his testimony. Sorry, it does not work that way.

I do not want to even start on the judge, who has a very small part to play and managed to annoy me plenty. Should I mention Sam’s adversary who is so very impressed by the witness’s testimony that he happily commits possible malpractice right there in the court room? Okay, I should stop here.

Recommended with reservations, unless you are a trial attorney, then not recommended.

10 comments

  • I was going to pick this one up – it looked cute. I am a lawyer, and I’m sure it would have me climbing the walls, based on your example. Too bad!

    Reply
    • Pea, climbing the walls is a very good description of how I felt when I was reading it :). If you do litigation, heck if you just have knowledge of how litigation is done, I really really suggest skipping this one 🙂

      Reply
  • Sirius
    I can’t help being amazed that someone would write a book like this without at least researching the relevant practices of what an attorney’s role is during and prior to the court proceedings. Are readers idiots that we wouldn’t spot such an elementary lack of research?

    Thanks for reviewing this book Sirius – I know you hesitated before doing so.

    Reply
    • I don’t know Wave, maybe some writers think that all we care for in these books is a love story with sex, sex, and more sex and nothing else matters? But when believability flies out of the window, I personally cannot concentrate on love story, depending on how eggregious the lack of research is of course I may keep thinking eh wrong, wrong, wrong again and getting more and more irritated. The characters really were not bad, not too much depth, but not horrible sketches. I guess maybe doing PWP would have been better than producing this? However on the other side, I would have not picked up the book where characters are just sex objects with nothing else to define their personalities either. If you give the character the job he loves, why not research this job somewhat at least?! I do not need you to make character talking in legalisms all the time, or at all, but make it believable, dont make me roll my eyes at the idea that this one is a *great attorney*. I am thinking maybe the readers who work in other areas, some readers at least may feel the same way as me? Anyway, yes you are welcome :). I knew that I would not be able to stop ranting and that is half of the reason I hesitated to review it, sorry. Going back to your comment I also speculate that maybe sometime writer is thinking that attorney or doctor (or any other professional really) will not necessarily be reading the book so I may get away with not doing much of the research? I mean, sometimes when i am reading the books and characters work in the areas I have no familiarity with I may catch some glaring common sense mistakes, but I may miss a lot too, unless pointed by someone who does have such familiarity? I have no idea of course, but maybe this was a rationale? Quite frustrating, really.

      Reply
  • It would be pretty darn hard to have a surprise witness nowadays. Most of litigation is made up of knowing who will be on and making sure your side is prepared for what they will say.

    Reply
    • Yeah, I can vouch for that in civil litigation, all I am saying is that I do not want to state something as a fact in the area I do not practice 😉

      Reply
  • My mom, my dad, my uncle, my cousin, my grandfather, my brother, my brother-in-law & my sister-in-law, are all attorneys. I’ve heard plenty of legal arguments over the years, so I think I’ll give this one a miss. You’ve saved me some aggravation with this review, so thanks for taking one for the team. 🙂

    Reply
    • I have not described all the aggravation that I saved you actually :). How about our genuis legal mind not knowing which witness *from his side* will appear to testify next day? I mean, in real life you do not surprise your adversary with the factual witnesses these days, this is mostly stuff for movies, but hey, I do not do criminal litigation, and in theory it can be done, so maybe it is sometimes done in criminal litigation, I do not know. HOWEVER, it is one thing if you are attempting to shock your adversary with the surprise witness (Sirius rolls her eyes and thinks of Perry Maison). It is another thing for your witnesses to be surprise for you. Um, again, just not how it is done. Thanks for commenting Andy.

      Reply
  • My mom is an attorney and any knowledge of the law I got from her, so yeah I guess I will be skipping this one. 😀

    How about book #1, did you like that one?

    Reply
    • Lasha, it is not as much knowledge of the law (although I wanted to disagree on whatever little was presented, but since it is arguable I will leave it alone), as complete lack of research as to the procedural aspect of litigation. If this bothers you, I definitely suggest skipping it. I have not read the first book, sorry for being unclear. The reason I said in the review that I can assure you it can be read as standalone was because I did not feel I missed much if anything, you know? It was about a different couple who actually established the matchmaking service from what I understand.

      Reply

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