Scott Pratt’s debut crime novel in 2008
This story is a smash hit by an independent crime author. I was browsing Amazon and I’m not sure how I came across it, but I did, impressed by the volume of positive reviews.
Joe Dillard is a Tennessee lawyer who’s fed up with the system and defending the guilty. But when a preacher is murdered after visiting a strip club, a dancer is accused and Dillard sees his chance to defend—an innocent client.
The cover is humble and straightforward. Almost bland, but it works. The symbols of justice are clear.
People in the story are more important to me than the plot. They have to work together, of course, and Pratt does a fine job of weaving Joe Dillard in and out of the main story defending the dancer, Angel, while being comforted by his wife, nearly losing his life, and tackling cases that he really wants to give up.
The Book Description on Amazon says the dancer is a “beautiful and mysterious woman.” In a way she is. She’s terribly shy and has been terribly hurt in her own past.
The intriguing characters included Erlene Barlow, the owner of the strip club. She was outgoing and caring about her girls. Pratt did well not just painting the dancers with a broad-brush stroke.
Another was Johnny Wayne, a killer who showed no remorse.
A character that bothered my was Junior Tester, the son of the slain preacher. Junior was a prison chaplain and hated how Dillard made his father out to be a hypocrite. Junior did some Bible-sounding quoting but it was nonsensical and just didn’t have truth in it.
The southern disgruntled lawyer is not an easy act to write since an author can give in to stereotypes. Pratt didn’t. He steered it in an entertaining way with believable characters.
The ending portion of the story was terrific.
I look forward to reading Book 2 in the Joe Dillard series.
We also invite you to discover Detective Tom Stone and his pursuit of wanna be drug lord Anthony Angelino. Visit our Books page.