Glibly seductive in the manner of a William Goldman novel, Lachman's debut begins with the reader's erroneous assumption...

READ REVIEW

IN THE NAME OF THE LAW

Glibly seductive in the manner of a William Goldman novel, Lachman's debut begins with the reader's erroneous assumption that the ambulance-chasing lawyer Jimmy Janos is an amoral hustler--and ends with an unbelievable flashback twist suggesting that he virtuously (if impishly) merely wants to overhaul all of American judisprudence. When Janos appears in court the day that Bull, Hulk, and BMT--three members of the Sick Assassins--are being arraigned for a hospital kill-spree that eliminated a witness to one of their crimes--a doctor and revered law professor, Emil--and inserts himself as their attorney, the D.A., the judge, and all the spectators assume he is out to make a name for himself, fast, in criminal law, via publicity. But Janos, by cleverly manipulating the law, has all three clients released within 48 hours; he then executes them himself, and sinks them in the river. Meanwhile, because of various hanky-panky, a judge has him brought up on charges, his disbarment is imminent, and an assistant D.A. whom he dallies with is forced to resign. Janos' visit to Frank's widow unfurls a tell-all sequence in which Janos is revealed to be Frank's protÉgÉ, his motives purer than pure and his vengeance, somehow, acceptable behavior for a rational adult. A short coda finds Janos in Bhopal soliciting clients to sue Union Carbide, another of his make-the-irresponsible-pay schemes. Witty until the ethics turns murky. And though Janos is a smart, roguish charmer, the plot definitely needs bailing out; this is more vignette than novel, but with enough stylistic panache to warrant a look.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988