AUDIO

The Rooster Bar

8 CDs. 10:17 hrs. Books on Tape. Oct. 2017. ISBN 9780399565014. $45. digital download. F
COPY ISBN
A friend's suicide leaves law students Mark, Todd, and Zola questioning their life choices as they face an uncertain future. Their second-rate law school has left them ill-prepared to pass the bar exam and with little hope of finding lucrative jobs that will help them pay down their massive student loans. Instead of powering through their last semester and hoping for the best, they decide to practice without licenses, hustling desperate clients willing to pay cash and not likely to ask for credentials. The trio of misfit lawyers are clearly in over their heads with a scam that banks on their belief that everyone is too distracted to notice their incompetence; the suspense builds each time they attempt some kind of legal maneuver. While the young lawyers are not exactly the good guys, listeners will be rooting for them as they attempt to take back control of their own lives, refusing to be manipulated further by their "diploma mill" law school and debt collectors. Grisham, in the author's note, reiterates that this is a work of fiction, but for many students who are also carrying huge student loans, the problems facing the characters will seem all too real. The subplot concerning Zola's family being deported also makes this a timely tale. The characters of Todd and Mark are a bit flat, and though it is sometimes hard to distinguish between Ari Fliakos's performance of their voices, at the same time it is their ordinariness that makes the story line believable.
VERDICT While this is not his best work, Grisham has something important to say here, making this a worthwhile listen. ["Grisham's solid and smart narrative highlights the myriad issues regarding the underemployed workforce and the graduate school scam that many readers may have experienced. The author's many fans will want this": LJ Xpress Reviews 9/15/17 review of the Knopf hc.]

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