Sunday, February 6, 2022


Dear Great Book Guru,  I am looking for a book to throw myself into for this Valentine weekend.  I love courtroom dramas, but I would also like a story about family.  Any thoughts? Weekend Reader

Dear Weekend Reader, I just finished a short novel you could easily read over the weekend. THE FINAL CASE by David Guterson is about a father and son and is set within the justice system.  The unnamed narrator is a renowned writer who has stopped writing. It is not so much a case of writer’s block but more a case of world weariness so when his elderly attorney father, Royal, crashes his car and need a ride to his office and courthouse, our narrator is more than willing to help. He soon finds himself enmeshed in his father’s latest pro bono defense of a woman accused of murdering her young, adopted daughter. We learn of the child’s early life in war-torn Ethiopia, her time in an orphanage there, and her hopes for a “good life” in America.  She is adopted into a large family with a very strict code of behavior and sadistic punishments abounding. When the child dies, the court assigns Royal to represent the adoptive mother. The trial uncovers few surprises and we come to realize this novel is not so much about the crime but more about Royal’s respect for the law and his ability to see past human faults. By the end, our narrator sees his father as a truly heroic figure.  This is, at times, a hard book to read but ultimately worthwhile- recommended.

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