rameau's Reviews > Legal Artistry

Legal Artistry by Andrew  Grey
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It's true this book is fifth in the Bottled Up series, but it can be read as a stand alone. The reason this book earned the series warning mention was, because of a certain plot twist towards the end of the book that came out of nowhere. Its only purpose was to set up a sequel later in the series.

Truth be told, I can't remember why I picked up this book to read. It might have had something to do with the cover (which now looks shoddily made because of the picture of the woman) and the above four star average on Goodreads. I'm aware of some people gaming the rating system, but Goodreads has rarely mislead me this badly. I might have not liked the author's style, but I don't think I've ever thought a well rated book poorly written before.

And strictly speaking, it's not the case here either. The grammar is good, the writing is intelligible, and the storytelling is perfunctory.

Perfunctory.

That's the word. Carried out with a minimum effort or reflection.

It took me about two hundred pages of the two hundred and thirty to come up with that word, to pinpoint my problem with the text and the story.

From the very beginning something felt off. I struggled to explain why I couldn't get into the story or really connect with the characters. Dieter felt a tad too guileless for my taste, but that really isn't the character's fault and I could overlook it. I didn't really have any problem with Gerald, but I was distracted by his curious interactions with the people he works with.

I don't know anything factual about the American legal system (courtroom dramas don't count) or the people working in it, but I couldn't shake the feeling that this wasn't how they were supposed to act. Or maybe it was just that I didn't agree with the characterisations given to people around Gerald. Then again, were they give any characterisations? Apart from one unexpected scene I don't think they were. It's possible that the relevant information was buried under one of the many, many infodumps.

Especially the beginning of the book was filled with these huge chunks of information that were difficult to digest, but they disappeared after the initial introduction when things started moving forward at the speed of light.

It turns out that this book is, basically, a published porn without plot, though, the erotica isn't that well written. The framework for all the sex permeating the second half of the book was sketchy. The juridical procedures and the art aspect were vaguely described at best, making me doubt had the author researched this book at all. Or if he had-instead of inventing it all-the research must have been cursory.

For example, when the two men start dating Gerald mentions several times that there's nothing unethical about it as long as they behave properly. What does he mean by that? Does it mean that they don't appear in meetings half dressed with sex hair or does it mean keeping their distance at all times in public? It couldn't have mean the latter, because later Gerald takes Dieter out on a date, but at that point, in the very beginning of their relationship, I needed someone to clearly articulate the ground rules. I wanted Gerald to give examples on behaviour that other firms would frown upon on and how it differed from the rules of his workplace. He never did.

This is just one example of things that weren't elaborated appropriately. Some details were offered, but more often than not they were irrelevant information whereas relevant (I felt) information was withheld. The further into the story I got, the more I felt like the book needed another more round of edits.

All this contributed to the dire emotional disconnect with the book. I wanted a plot but instead I got a diverse collection of sentences strung together in the most superficial way intended to titillate. I did like most of the things they were saying, I just didn't like how they were said.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
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Reading Progress

02/21/2012
9.0% "The first chapter feels like it's skipping through a lot. I can feel the author scrambling to get to the point."
02/21/2012
15.0% "That smells like an infodump."
02/21/2012
41.0% "The fact that they're twins is new information, the fact that they're "sons" isn't. I could have deduced it from their names. The names you gave in the previous sentence."
02/22/2012
48.0% "Everything reads so cold and calculating, like without a heart."
02/22/2012
74.0% "I'm adding a new shelf because that's the best way to explain my problems with this writing: Emotional disconnect."
02/22/2012
80.0% "Oh, for the love of..."

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) (last edited Feb 22, 2012 03:19PM) (new)

Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) Yep, I won't be reading this one. I'm so sick of M/M PWP. You would think authors (and readers) would demand respect about these relationships instead of fetishizing them in damn near every book.

I also won't read it because my poor lawyer head would explode. To answer your question it depends on the state (and the state's ethics rules) and year in which the story takes place, but generally:

ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.8:
(j) A lawyer shall not have sexual relations with a client unless a consensual sexual relationship existed between them when the client-lawyer relationship commenced.

So, basically, you're right the author sounds too lazy to have done the basic research about the rules they were under and to lay the ground rules for the relationship. I doubt anyone is going to be up-in-arms in this instance if they run afoul of whatever ethical rules they're under, but I'd share your frustration in it not being covered. Either make it okay, or run with it being illicit.

Also, by the cover I thought this was going to be a menage book.


rameau No, the woman in the cover is supposed to be the portrait of Dieter's great-grandmother they're trying to get back (that's another aspect that irritated me, vilifying the Austrians.)

See, I'd been happy Gerald just siting the state law relevant to them. I wouldn't even have known if it were correct or not, I just wanted to him to say something lawyer-ish.


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