The double-bladed axe of the law,"" London-style, with the focus on David Main, self-made hotshot solicitor, obsessed with winning suits and expanding his practice. Alongside David's push and angst (losing a wife and fighting for custody of the children) run episodes from the docket--a rich-kid thief, a poor-man thief, a father who pulverizes a child molester, a quietly psychopathic wife-killer, and a maimed assault victim who sues her attachers for damages. David's hearthside traumas and his warm-hearted staff steer him onto the path of niceness, but the book's strength (small-scale) isn't the making-of-a-man stuff; it's the storytelling efficiency that goes into the scenes of the crimes. When not pontificating about ""the law,"" Ward can handle incident with a selective snap reminiscent of J.J. Marric. Get him out of the office (though it's certainly a painless way for Americans to bone up on the solicitor-barrister system) and onto the street--and the next Ward may stand a better chance than this one.