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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Suzy’s Case by Andy Siegel

Suzy’s Case by Andy Siegel
Publisher: Scribner
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, contemporary
Length: Full length (356 pgs)
Rated: 4 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

A dogged and ingenious seeker after justice, New York attorney Tug Wyler is, at the same time, very much a law unto himself. A street-smart idealist and a born cut-up, he thinks on his feet in always unpredictable ways. Given the highly competitive nature of his specialty — a personal injury practice being no game for sissies — it’s worth it to him to grab the chance when a potentially lucrative edge comes along.

Enter Henry Benson, a high-profile criminal lawyer, with a file case of unsavory clients in need of just the sort of representation at which Tug excels. Clearly, it’s a pact with the devil, but when it comes to pitting his own comfort zone against a challenge, Tug’s an incorrigible risk-taker.

When Benson first hands off to him the case of the severely brain-damaged child Suzy Williams — whose mother has been pursuing restitution for her daughter for six long years against a resistant hospital’s defense team of lawyers — the actual criminal connection involved isn’t immediately clear. And what Benson seems to want from Tug is to shut it down. The verbal report to Tug, from Benson is there is no case — get us out of it gracefully.

Yet, once Tug meets the massively disabled but gallant little Suzy and June, her beautiful and resourceful mom, all bets are off. Then, without any warning and completely mysteriously, his soon passionate commitment to their cause thrusts him into a surreal sideshow of danger and violence.

Written in a quick, conversational style, Suzy’s Case is engaging and unpredictable. The main character, Tug Wyler, is an attorney – but hardly your garden variety type. In Suzy’s Case he hastily reveals himself as a quick-witted off-beat investigator. If anyone calls Wyler ‘Mr. Sensitivity’ you can be sure they are being sarcastic. He does – once in a while – let on that he can be a touch soft-hearted, but in the main he’s tough, sarcastic and politically incorrect. Ok, possibly he has a right to be – we find him going from worrying over a client’s injuries to (in rather macabre yet resigned fashion) planning a funeral for the as-yet living.

Repeat: Suzy’s Case is unpredictable.

Admittedly, I found the verb tenses/lack of harmony distracting- as well as some seriously long sentences. Style not incorrect but occasionally annoying. Mr. Siegel tests out things like making a list (literally, 1. 2. 3.) of items the main character is thinking and then also attempting to show a discussion via computer, using a different font. Although it does rather fit the conversational tone, it is also simply disruptive to the flow of the story.

Events are unpredictable, conversations are combative, some situations are downright heartbreaking. There is something of the hard-boiled style here- yet there is more. Descriptions exist, yet contribute to the rapid forward pace. It is ultimately engaging and interesting, and though I wanted to dislike it, I sensed this book – like the main character - just doesn’t care what I think. And that is part of its charm.

If you grab this book, it will grab you back. More than worth the read.

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