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Legal Thrillers & Courtroom Dramas

Legal thrillers typically climax in courtroom dramas, with a lawyer as the central hero. Often, an inexperienced attorney confronts a formidable opponent - but ultimately triumphs in defending the innocent. Many legal thrillers are penned by former legal professionals, such as Scott Turow and John Grisham. Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is probably the best-known legal thriller where Atticus Finch, a middle-aged lawyer, defends Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman. The novel is a compelling exploration of racial issues in America, widely read in schools for its lessons on tolerance and prejudice.

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Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird
2015 (First published: 1960)
One of the most cherished stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl.
336 Pages
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John Grisham
The Firm
2009 (First published: 1991)
About a law firm controlled by the Mafia. Fast-paced, smart, with believable characters. One of the best legal thrillers on the market. Made into a movie directed by Sydney Pollack - starring Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman.  
544 Pages
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John Grisham
The Boys from Biloxi
2022 (First published: 2022)
Keith Rudy and Hugh Malco grew up in Biloxi and were childhood friends. But as teenagers, their lives took them in different directions. Keith’s father became a legendary prosecutor, determined to “clean up the Coast.” Hugh’s father became the “Boss” of Biloxi’s criminal underground. Keith went to law school and followed in his father’s footsteps. Hugh worked in his father’s clubs. Two families heading for a showdown in a courtroom.
464 Pages
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Kia Abdullah
Next of Kin
Leila Syed receives a call. Her brother-in-law’s voice is filled with panic. His son’s nursery has called to ask where little Max is. Leila was supposed to drop Max off that morning. But she forgot. Racing to the carpark, she grasps the horror of what she has done.
384 Pages
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Michael Connelly
The Lincoln Lawyer
Lincon Lawyer Novel - Book 1
2016 (First published: 2005)
Mickey Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense attorney who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, traveling between the far-flung courthouses of Los Angeles to defend clients of every kind. Bikers, con artists, drunk drivers, drug dealers -- they're all on Mickey Haller's client list. For him, the law is rarely about guilt or innocence, it's about negotiation and manipulation. Sometimes it's even about justice.
480 Pages
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Michael Connelly
The Brass Verdict
Lincon Lawyer Novel - Book 2
2022 (First published: 2008)
Things are finally looking up for defense attorney Mickey Haller. He is back in the courtroom. When Hollywood lawyer Jerry Vincent is murdered, Haller inherits his biggest case yet: the defense of Walter Elliott. But as Haller prepares for the case, he learns that Vincent's killer may be coming for him next. Enter Harry Bosch. As danger mounts these two loners realize their only choice is to work together.
432 Pages
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Michael Connelly
The Reversal
Lincon Lawyer Novel - Book 3
2016 (First published: 2010)
Longtime defense attorney Mickey Haller is recruited to change stripes and prosecute the high-profile retrial of a brutal child murder. After twenty-four years in prison, convicted killer Jason Jessup has been exonerated by new DNA evidence. Haller is convinced Jessup is guilty, and he takes the case on the condition that he gets to choose his investigator, LAPD Detective Harry Bosch.
464 Pages
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Michael Connelly
The Fifth Witness
Lincon Lawyer Novel - Book 4
2016 (First published: 2011)
Mickey Haller has fallen on tough times. He expands his business into foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home. Mickey puts his team into high gear to exonerate Lisa Trammel, even though his own suspicions tell him his client is guilty. Soon after he learns that the victim had black market dealings of his own, Haller is assaulted, too.
496 Pages
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Michael Connelly
The Gods of Guilt
Lincon Lawyer Novel - Book 5
2014 (First published: 2013)
Mickey Haller gets the text, "Call me ASAP - 187," and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. When Mickey learns that the victim was his own former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on the straight and narrow path, he knows he is on the hook for this one. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life.
416 Pages
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Michael Connelly
The Law of Innocence
Lincon Lawyer Novel - Book 6
2021 (First published: 2020)
On the night he celebrates a big win, defense attorney Mickey Haller is pulled over by police, who find the body of a former client in the trunk of his Lincoln. Haller is immediately charged with murder but can’t post the exorbitant $5 million bail slapped on him by a vindictive judge. Mickey elects to represent himself and is forced to mount his defense from his jail cell. Haller knows he’s been framed, whether by a new enemy or an old one.
432 Pages
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Robert Traver
Anatomy of a Murder
1983 (First published: 1958)
Anatomy of a Murder immediately became a number-one bestseller in America, and was subsequently turned into the now classic Otto Preminger film of the same name, starring Jimmy Stewart and Duke Ellington. A gripping tale of deceit, murder, and a sensational trial, unmatched in the authenticity of its settings, events, and characters.
448 Pages
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Scott Pratt
An Innocent Client
Joe Dillard Series - Book 1
2012 (First published: 2012)
In Tennessee, a preacher is brutally murdered, and a beautiful young girl is accused. Criminal defense lawyer Joe Dillard, though jaded, takes on her case, torn between his conscience and career. Despite personal struggles with family issues and professional challenges, Dillard's commitment to proving her innocence remains unwavering. "An Innocent Client" captivates with rich characters and a plot twist that will leave you shaking your head in wonder.
393 Pages
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Scott Pratt, J.D. Pratt
Last Resort 
Joe Dillard Series - Book 10
2023 (First published: 2023)
In the 10th book of the best-selling Joe Dillard series, a young girl disappears in the night. Joe's life is spiraling, with family struggles and his wife battling cancer. When the missing girl is linked to his son's little league team, Joe takes on the mission to find her. As the investigation unfolds, a shocking suspect emerges, intensifying the urgency to bring the girl home safely.
381 Pages
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Scott Turow!
Presumed Innocent
2017 (First published: 1987)
Turow's first courtroom thriller is one of the best legal fiction ever. As a former U.S. prosecutor, Turow had intimate knowledge of legal procedures and could drag the reader into the gritty drama of a murder trial. A dark twist of events transforms prosecutor Susty Sabich from the accuser to the accused. Made into a spectacular Harrison Ford movie.  
496 Pages
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