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Diary of a Small Fish

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  188 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
When Paul Forte is indicted by a federal grand jury, everyone suspects prosecutor Bernard (don’t call him “Bernie”) Kilroy has more on his mind than justice. Then the FBI agent in charge of Paul’s case gives him a clue to the mystery: Kilroy is bent on settling an old family score, and he’s not above breaking the law to do it.

Paul is already dealing with the death of his p
Kindle Edition, 392 pages
Published September 27th 2011 (first published September 23rd 2011)
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Alexander McNabb
Nov 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an unusual book. It's hard to bracket, not a comedy but funny, not a thriller but mysterious and curiously engaging, not a courtroom drama and yet it has its gavel-beating moments.

It has voice, a huge voice. At times it reminded me of Robert Heinlein, oddly enough - there are moments of camaraderie, even moments of sexuality, that evoke Heinlein's right wing klatches. This is not a book for namby-pamby liberals. It's a very male book, with much Martini drinking, golfing and bonding going
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

To review Pete Morin's Diary of a Small Fish is to contemplate a subject that I occasionally get asked about as a prolific reviewer; because although my rule to myself is to read at least half of a book before feeling qualified enough to give a general opinion of it, a lot of the shorter write-ups of only
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining, fast courtroom drama with a very human feel.

This review is from: Diary of a Small Fish (Kindle Edition)
To start off, I don't usually read courtroom drama. I've done the Legal 101 reading Grisham, and I did enjoy the early two or three books, but since that I've not touched the genre.

One of the causes for that is that the American legal system is very different from the one we have in Finland, and it's like learning a new game to be able to understand what happens. This usually lea
Cheryl M-M
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It is incredibly hard to create a character that is so realistic that the reader forgets its actual fictional purpose. Morin has managed to do just that. The main character is someone the reader can identify with, whether it is financially, emotionally or morally.
The book is very hard to fit snugly into a specific genre. The main focus of the storyline is centred around the political machinations of lobbyists. The question of when is an invite, having dinner together or picking up the tab a brib
JJ Marsh
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What exactly IS this book? Yes, it’s a political mystery. It’s also a love story. It explores corruption, honour and integrity. And it’s funny. But how to define it?

Paul Forte is the small fish; general counsel for the Boston Transport System, unhappily divorced, recently bereaved and possessor of a smart mouth. Oh, and he loves golf. A true sportsman, he respects the code of conduct. It’s how he was raised. Paul’s skills on the green have made him some powerful friends, a fact about to bite hi
Orest Stelmach
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This author is a dangerous man. First, he's an insider from Boston's legal community. Second, he can craft a story commensurate with said legal expertise. And third, his book will make you more ravenous than a mouth-watering episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, or, more appropriately in this case, Top Chef. All that takes skill. Allow me to explain.

The voice is the thing in Diary of a Small Fish. The protagonist, Paul B. Forte, is a Boston legal insider. He's the top lawyer for the MBTA, Bos
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The mark of a good writer is to show you a world you know nothing about, and make you care about that world and what happens in it, and to feel a part of it. I wouldn't have thought I'd be interested in party hacks and the dirty business of state politics, but the author shows us a decent man in a tough situation. Several tough situations, actually. And we care, because having a person like the main character Paul Forte in the world is a good thing. He lives well, plays a lot of golf, laughs a l ...more
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To begin, this is a DAMN good read! Pete Morin has produced a gem of a debut novel that I recommend without reservation. The reader cannot help but root for the protagonist, Paul Forte, as he fights to avoid the snares of corrupt politicians and faces a preposterous criminal indictment based on the fact that people like to play golf with him. The action is fast-paced and laced with delightful witticisms. Not all is rosy and upbeat in Forte's life, however, and along the way he must struggle with ...more
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I suspect only lawyers write can write good courtroom dramas, and politicians write te best political thrillers, so it's hardly surprising that Pete Morin, who has experience in both fields, has come up with a great yarn here.

This book has more than a nod to Scott Turow and John Grisham, but in many ways it's more credible than either, a tale where the mystery lies in complex human relationships rather than murder or violence. The premise of the novel is simple; corruption at the heart of govern
I had purchased and read Diary of a Small Fish last year. The writing is excellent and I enjoyed the humor and legal wrangling. Since it was written in the first person voice of the main character, Paul Forte, I had a little difficulty, as a female reader, staying in the story.

Nonetheless, when the author offered the audio book on Goodreads I was anxious to give it another go. I am so glad I did as the narration by Keith Sellon-Wright is absolutely perfect for the main character. Mr. Sellon-Wrig
E.J. Findorff
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Diary Of A Small Fish is a fantastic read. I'm impressed how Mr. Morin was able maintain the growing suspense while keeping it all based in reality. It would be too easy to dive into a world of cheap thrills, car chases, explosions and mob-like mentalities. It was refreshing to read a novel that had a truth to it. It was heartfelt, humorous at times, romantic and familiar. I felt every bit of pressure and impending doom as an innocent man would and I applaud Mr. Morin for getting me lost in the ...more
Ashley P

This book is one that I've owned since I pretty much got my first Kobo eReader, which was a while ago. I don't actually remember why I bought it but I'm certainly not complaining about it. This novel, while a law based fiction has a lot of heart, and humour as well as despair which is certainly not what I was expecting. Paul is my kind of guy, with the exception of his golf obsession, and it's written in a way that allows you to completely understand the process.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a wonderful surprise. I was up at night with a horrible cold and needed something to distract me. I flipped through the books on my Kindle and decided to read this one. I am glad I did. The story is engaging, and the characters are well developed. The book has a lot of style, with appropriate references to food, wine and the city of Boston. I would highly recommend this book for an enjoyable read.
Bonnie Lamer
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s just a game of golf. A game of camaraderie that creates bonds that can last a lifetime. Right? Or is it really an evil tool used by some to bring about the destruction of our political system one hole at a time?
Paul Forte is an honest guy who served his time as a politician voting his conscience. So what was the harm in playing a few (read a hundred or so) games of golf with lobbyists who never asked him for anything? They didn’t affect his votes. Right? Looking at a prison sentence because
Stephen Gallup
Oct 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very enjoyable read, and I felt that I was in the hands of an excellent storyteller. The view into the lives of patrician Bostonians felt entirely authentic. (I don't claim to know the first thing about that sphere of existence, but the author clearly makes good use of his own experiences and expertise to bring it to life.)

Paul Forté, the narrator, seems to know what he's talking about when he observes of his peers, "they were the fourth generation in a culture where the spoils of gov
Theresa de Valence
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Ultimately DIARY OF A SMALL FISH by Pete Morin is a love story. And a crime story, but not my usual fare. I rarely read legal fiction and almost never read American political thrillers; usually I find the machinations boring. Not so with DIARY OF A SMALL FISH—I was riveted, finding the action smack in the middle of a slippery slope where seemingly innocent behaviour can become criminalized just because someone intimates it so. And worse, where highly criminal behaviour is the order of the day—wh ...more
Joan Roman Pavlick
Diary of a Small Fish by Pete Morin is a riveting political thriller. Set in Boston, MA. Pete has pulled out all the punches in this novel about how those behind the scenes seem to always be the ones pulling the strings to get what they want. Lobbyist and other concerned parties. Found that this novel kept my attention from start to finish. The characters were all well written into a suspenseful drama of cat and mouse. But, it actually ended up with the mouse trapping the cat. I actually listene ...more
Jenny Orelle
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I just posted this review on audible and thought I'd share it here too. (I've also have it on kindle, and should add that I love the cover design. I give it four stars here, but am tempted to give it more.)

"Entertaining, Funny and Smart"

Would you consider the audio edition of Diary of a Small Fish to be better than the print version?

It's so well written. I decided to read this book after coming across reviews on Goodreads which referred to the author's “big voice” and called Morin “a funny Robe
Stephen Woodfin
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Pete Morin's first novel features Paul Forte, an affable, well-connected, smart-ass politico, who finds himself on the receiving end of a corrupt US Attorney, "Don't Call Me 'Bernie'" Kilroy. When Kilroy manipulates a federal grand jury to return an indictment against Forte, the game is on.

Forte's great sin is his love of golf, an addiction that blinds him to the fact that playing golf with lobbyists at some of the swankiest venues in the world could be construed as not only improper, but possib
Lynne Cantwell
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, mystery
Things are looking pretty bleak for Paul Forte. A former politician who's now chief counsel for a transportation authority in Boston, Forte lives the good life. He has a great condo, he eats terrific food, and he plays a lot of golf -- often with lobbyists. Of course, his personal life is falling apart; he's divorced from his wife, whom he still loves, and his parents are dead. And now his penchant for golf has gotten him in trouble; a crusading prosecutor named Bernard Kilroy has convinced a gr ...more
Frances Plino
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The small fish in question, Paul Forte, is a quick-witted master of the funny line. He is also, like the author, a lawyer. Recently divorced, and still grieving over the sudden death of his parents, his life takes an unexpectedly sinister turn when he finds himself facing criminal charges over a few (okay, more than a few) games of golf with friends who happen to be lobbyists. Forte loves golf, it’s his passion, but it’s about to bring him down because prosecutor Bernard Kilroy has the Attorney ...more
While governmental representatives have the right to represent the interests of their constituents, it becomes a crime when done for personal benefit. In other words, when is a game of golf not just a game of golf?

The protagonist, Paul Forte, spent a small amount of time as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, but is currently serving as general counsel for the MBTA, greater Boston’s public transportation system. He considers himself “a small fish” in the political arena. Whe
Vernon Baker
Oct 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Diary of a small fish is not groundbreaking, unique, or genre bending. In the end it’s not really surprising. But I enjoyed the hell out of it. It’s funny, a tad profane, sexy, fast paced enough to keep the reader engaged and could serve as a “how to get around, where to eat, where to play golf(if you're connected and have a fat wallet)and how to talk" manual if one is in Boston or its surrounding environs.
The story is fairly predictable but that never distracted from my enjoyment, and in fact w
Elizabeth Jasper
I always had the idea this guy could write and now I know I was right. I spent a great weekend reading this book and it was worth every minute of my time.

For a start, it's refreshing to read something this intelligent about someone who knows right from wrong. There's nothing about Paul Forte you won't like. He's decent, talented and overall unassuming. Beset by doubts that he's somehow made a terrible mistake somewhere along the line - at least according to his nemesis, Bernie Kilroy - he spends
Robert Lowe
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Morin's novel was a compelling, entertaining read that had great windows into a lot of areas: the courtroom, the back rooms of the legislature, bureaucratic back biting, and the life and heart of the protagonist working his way through multiple personal and professional crises.

I particularly enjoyed the dialogue which was entertaining enough to carry the scenes, a rarity. The characters also were nicely drawn and the main romance was both believable and unpredictable. The patient simmering b
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes light mysteries
Shelves: literary, humorous
When Massachusetts attorney Paul Forte is subpoenaed to go before a grand jury investigating unreported contributions, he assumes he's just a small fish caught up in the net. He testifies truthfully about his golfing dates with lobbyists, assuming that the reciprocal policy golfers always use - I'll pay for you to play my course, you pay for me to play yours - will keep him safe.

Not. Seems the prosecutor has a grudge against Paul. He's indicted, subjected to arrest and put in a holding cell. All
Doug Bremner
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2012
This is an interesting novel from a writer-attorney who obviously has experienced some of the situations the characters go through, like the dread of testifying in court, or how local politics and lobbyists interact. As a fellow professional I found it interesting from the standpoint of a world that most people do not get to experience directly and that is not often written about by individuals with direct knowledge or experience.

Doug Bremner, author of

The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg
LM Goodrich
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great first novel by Mr. Morin! The pace of the story was solid. Having worked in and around the government the interplay between the characters rings true. Add a little golf and you have a funny and fabulous read.

I will not go into the story-line, many other reviews have already done this so I will just rate the book on its elements (0 to 5 being highest):

Protagonist Development: 5
Antagonist Development: 5
Minor Character Development: 5
Storyline: 5
Setting: 5
Theme: 5
Writing Style: 5
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
VERY well-written. First-person narrative from the perspective of a politician accused of corruption. Even he's not quite sure whether or not he's innocent.

Rated four stars for me because the heavy politics and courtroom intrigue generally isn't my cup of tea. For those that do enjoy this genre, though, I imagine it'd be quite easy to give this one the fifth star.
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I never thought I would enjoy a political legal drama, but this was extremely well-written and I couldn't help but keep turning pages!

This book was picked up as part of The Second Degree Bundle over at StoryBundle, and trust me, my full donation amount was paid in full with this one title. Well-defined characters, a fast-moving plot, and enough intrigue to last you a year.
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Authors & Reviewers: Diary of a Small Fish is perma-free 1 3 Nov 25, 2015 09:01AM  
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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong ISBN on Amazon link 3 149 Jan 11, 2012 01:45PM  
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Pete Morin has been a trial attorney, a politician, a bureaucrat, a lobbyist, and now, a novelist.

When he is not writing crime fiction or legal mumbo jumbo, Pete plays blues guitar in Boston bars, and on increasingly rare occasion, plays a round of golf. He lives in a money pit on the seacoast south of Boston, in an area once known as the Irish Riviera.

Pete is represented by Christine Witthohn of
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“Beware of a client who's suing on principle and paying by the hour. He rarely gets his money's worth.” 8 likes
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