book reviews

A Good Courtroom Drama

I love courtroom dramas but haven’t found a lot of them lately. I was thrilled to find this one on NetGalley:

A Matter of Life and Death–a innocent man is framed but expertly. Robin’s problem is how to prove it

–received free from NetGalley in return for an honest review
–a note about my reviews: I only review books I enjoyed. I need to be inspired to write. That’s why so many of my reviews are 4/5 or 5/5

A Matter of Life and Death

by Philip Margolin


In A Matter of Life and Death (Minotaur Books 2021), fourth in the Robin Lockwood series, Robin Lockwood, former MMA fighter of repute, now puts her skills to defending clients. In this case, it’s Joe Lattimore, a homeless, unemployed, down-on-his-luck fighter who is so desperate for money to support his wife and infant child that he falls for a scheme he knows he shouldn’t. The result is he’s framed for the murder of the wife of a prominent but sketchy judge. The real killer beat her to death exactly as a fighter of Joe’s skills would and then planted evidence against him that is hard to dispute. The optics of Joe’s guilt are overwhelming but Robin is suspicious enough to take the case. It’s too easy, too pat, too airtight, as though someone has planned it.

Besides being a well-drawn courtroom drama tale written by a master of this genre,, what really sets it apart is the procedural elements included. Here are some examples:

“In addition to an unlimited number of challenges for cause, each side in an Oregon death penalty trial was allowed fifteen peremptory challenges. These challenges could be made for any reason and were used when an attorney could not show cause but did not want a juror sitting on his client’s case.”

“A defendant had no obligation to prove he was innocent. That meant that the defense was never required to put on evidence. If the state’s case was shaky but Joe made a bad impression when he testified, he could erase any reasonable doubts harbored by a juror.”

“In 1972, in Furman v. Georgia, the United States Supreme Court struck down all of the existing death penalty schemes in the United States. In the course of writing the opinion, the court established the principle that “death is different.”

It is a joy to read a story that held my attention from start to finish. If you’re hungry for this genre of story, you won’t regret the time you spend reading this book.

If you like playing while reading, the publisher has this fun game for you:

preview100pieceA Matter of Life and Death_audio

BTW–You can create this puzzle with your book at Jigsaw Planet (though it requires a login).


More Courtroom Dramas


Write to Die


Capitol Murder

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Summer 2021.

56 thoughts on “A Good Courtroom Drama

  1. Now you have me searching my memory for courtroom dramas. Witness for the Prosecution comes to mind but that’s just a short story. Rumpole of the Bailey series are all courtroom based – not brilliantly written but good fun

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A summons, three years ago… Why ? How ? Never speeded in my life, scaredy-cat.
    Then read the letter again. Jury service ! Unforgettable. Genuinely awesome.
    Especially in a real castle.
    Trial fiction ? One of my favourites – an unexpected Christie – Witness for the Prosecution…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: You’ve seen the books in my bag, now see what everyone else is reading! | Book Club Mom

  4. This sounds like the writer has experience in courtroom legalities. Is he an attorney? I enjoy books that exhibit a level of expertise and detail that might be glossed over by writers who guess but don’t know their topic. Thanks for the excellent review.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like a great read, Jacqui. I used to read John Grisham, probably the last time I read a legal drama was about ten years ago, but I’m always up to start again. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think the trend for books on courtroom dramas began with “To Kill a Mockingbird”. The struggle for human kindness in a black and white world. The American justice system and our laws make for good story telling.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Jacqui – this sounds a fascinating book … but recently I’ve been getting ‘similar’ books – which have that love of ordinary life, yet needs to find out and resolve ‘behind the scenes’ aspects – which educate us, as well as remind us about the shape life can take. Stay save … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good afternoon, dear Jacqui,
    courtroom dramas seems to be something of the world of American fiction. We have to admit it’s not what we would read and like. Nevertheless, thanks a lot for sharing your review.
    With love from the rough sea
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • You have to have an account (probably for a cost) but it is a great idea. I liked having this available to my young students. I’d load up one of their favorite family pictures and they’d practice mouse skills (drag-drop) on the puzzle!


  9. That seems to be true. I have seen many Hindi movies where the story leads to a courtroom drama where the theatrics of the lawyers, judges, accused, all add to the fun and confusion, eventually leading to restoration of the good standing of the good people. But books…not able to recall any. I guess movies lend themselves more easily to courtroom drams.

    Liked by 2 people

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