Categories of Suspense: Legal Thrillers

Due to a major goof on my part, last Monday’s post never showed up. Here it is:

T. Macdonald Skillman’s book, WRITING THE THRILLER, lists eight categories of suspense novels. Today I’ll look at her discussion of Legal Thrillers.

Legal Thrillers focus on legal matters. John Grisham’s book THE FIRM centers on an ambitious young lawyer and the predicament that ambition thrusts him into. Another of Grisham’s books, A TIME TO KILL, deals with a beleaguered attorney and the build-up to a crucial trial.

Other scenarios that qualify as legal thrillers include jury tampering, lawyers, judges, jury members, threatened witnesses, investigations into legal ethics, and military court settings (anyone remember “You can’t handle the truth!”) Other books in this category include William Bernhardt’s ben Kincaid series, Perri O’Shaughnessy’s Nina Reilly series, and Scott Turow’s PRESUMED INNOCENT.

Basically, if the story focuses on legal matters, it’s a legal thriller. Seems simple enough.


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