Thursday, September 22, 2011

Roll on Friday review of 'Law and Disorder'


Very many overdue thanks to VultureCulture at Roll on Friday for reviewing my book Law and Disorder. You can read the review here or below. You can buy the book at Amazon.co.uk

Tim Kevan has numbered the ranks of the legal bloggers for over three years now. The former barrister pens the musings of a fictional junior barrister, BabyBarrista, who discovers that the bar is stuffed to the brim with incompetent, arrogant and out of touch individuals playing the system for all it’s worth.

And the blog has been popular. It was serialised in The Times, before Kevan switched allegiances to The Guardian once the paywall was installed. And from the blog a book was born. Law and Disorder, Kevan’s debut novel, is the first instalment of BabyB’s career path. It tells the tale of the young pupil barrister navigating his way through a year of pupillage, competing against a motley crew of fellow pupils to score the prize of tenancy.

BabyB's journey starts off with the (non-shocking) realisation that he is little more than a glorified coffee maker And it gets worse as he realises that his chambers are populated by unscrupulous characters.

Early indications that BabyB must get tenancy in order to support his poor, indebted, single mother who has sacrificed herself financially at the altar of his legal dreams - sound like the beginnings of a cliché and made VultureCulture groan inside a little.

However, it turns out that BabyB is not a self-righteous twerp who just wants to make a better life for his poor old ma. He is far from immune to a bit (in fact a lot) of backstabbing in order to grab the tenancy trophy from his thrusting fellow pupils. He plots their respective downfalls with relish - stooping to impersonation, identity theft, Facebook hacking, fraud and some kinky business along the way.

A deft study in the nuances of characterisation this book isn’t. The novel’s cast is colourful, brash and largely 2D - few of them very appealing. Only one person is given a name, BabyB’s confidante and best pal Claire. The rest are bestowed with helpful monikers. TopFirst is the main competition – bright, arrogant but led by his pants. TheBoss is BabyB’s very dodgy pupil master and TheVamp is a tenant in chambers and carry on character with whom BabyB enjoys a brief dalliance. You get the idea.

The reader is catapulted head first into BabyB's Machiavellian scheming. There are certainly elements of cliché and farce throughout - but the book is richer for it. Kevan manages to swiftly draw the reader into BabyB's duplicitous journey. The book is full of humour and sharp observations about the legal system and those who play it to their advantage. It quickly grabs the reader's attention and turns out to be really quite hard to put down.

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