Friday, June 7, 2013
Some novels are of the mystery genre; some other novels are works of fiction that happen to have a mystery within. John Lescroart’s The Ophelia Cut is a clear example of the former sort, and it does the genre justice.
The Ophelia Cut is about family, about protection of these loved ones, and, of course, about murder. But it is not so simple. There are numerous subplots, as well as convoluted relationships, that make the book complex. It is also about hit men and human trafficking, bad guys, good guys, and bad good guys. At the beginning, these complexities were off putting; but, upon further reading, the interrelationships yielded more understanding and less confusion.
Despite all this busy-ness, defense attorney Dismas Hardy defends his friend and brother-in-law, Moses McGuire, when McGuire is charged with murder. A substantial portion of the book focuses on McGuire’s trial.
As a lawyer, I do not like reading “lawyer” books; however, I found the detailed courtroom scenes in The Ophelia Cut to be realistic and accurate. One of the more advanced evidentiary problems that arose during trial is indeed a current contentious legal issue – though I am still not convinced that the judge made the correct ruling in that instance.
As a philosopher, I was intrigued with the introduction of an expert in the reliability of eyewitness evidence. I had written a master’s thesis on this topic and was pleasantly surprised to find that such a complex subject was also dealt with in a realistic and accurate fashion.
I find it ironic that the most realistic and accurate book involving the legal profession that I have read was written by a non-lawyer.
‘Ophelia’ comes from the Greek and means “help”; hence, The Ophelia Cut is aptly entitled. The book is engaging and well written. It is a high quality murder mystery. My only hesitation about the book is the ending. I am still pondering the ending. Ophelia does not change; but, was there an ending? Much surprise and much to think about at the (non)end.
IMO - Recommended