I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. The hardcover book type was large enough that these aging eyes had no trouble reading for extended periods, and the plot was clear and full of tips for at-home wanna-be attorneys.
As friends know, my reading taste leans to non-fiction–true stories–where some form of learning is involved. Although Cost of Deceit is a novel, it gives lots of learning tips from its author, H. Mitchell Caldwell, a law professor at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law in Malibu, California. Caldwell teaches criminal procedure and trial advocacy and at points during his story he will add special paragraphs called “trial tips” with information such as:
“Trial Tip #9: Simplify the Language
“Plain words and simple sentences help ensure that there won’t be an intellectual gap between the advocate and the jurors. For instance, ‘cut’ is a better word than ‘laceration’. Likewise, ‘bruise’ is better than ‘contusion’. When expert witnesses testify, they often lapse into speech and jargon peculiar to their calling. It is the advocate’s responsibility to translate any such speech into easily understood language.”
(I particularly liked this tip because I’m no big-word-using intellectual. However, “cut”and “bruise” are definitely in my vocabulary.)
The story of Cost of Deceit is that of lawyer Jake Clearwater who, at first, is a TV commentator on a murder trial that ends in a hung jury. However, later, attorney Clearwater is asked to join the prosecution team. The story then turns to Clearwater’s investigation into the facts of the case and the accused murderer. (The accused’s wife was the “murder victim”, or, as the accused claims, she had just “run away.”). I had no problems following the story (and the trial tips) and read non-stop. A well-written book begs the reader to get back to it and encourages reading vs another Netflix movie or cable news opinions. Cost of Arrogance is the first book in this new Jake Clearwater legal thriller series.
I definitely recommend Cost of Deceit by H Mitchell Caldwell. The book was published in March of this year and is available in kindle, hardcover and paperback.