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Friday, June 13, 2014

Reckless Disregard: A Parker Stern Novel By Robert Rotstein

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Civil litigation hit the digital age when Hollywood mogul William “The Conqueror” Bishop files a lawsuit against the pseudonymous game designer “Poniard,” claiming that the video game Abduction! enacts a scenario libelously accusing Bishop of murdering a long-missing starlet.

Breaking into Judicial Alternative Dispute Solutions’ internal chat server, Poniard demands that Parker Stern represent him against Bishop’s lawsuit to shut down the game along with claims for punitive damages. Since the death of his mentor, the once dazzling litigator suffers from paralyzing panic attacks in the courtroom and now limits himself to arbitrations. However, Poniard refuses to take no for an answer and threatens to reveal Parker’s dark past as a child star if he refuses to take the case.

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Feeling cornered and still protective of the past he has attempted to put behind him, Parker takes the case that directly pits him against Lovely Diamond, one of Bishop’s attorneys and, as her name might suggest, a woman with her own scandalous past. That she happens to also have recently broken Parker’s heart makes the case even messier, especially when she is aligned with Parker’s nemesis Louis Frantz. Along with the anti-anxiety drugs that allow him to enter a courtroom, Parker engages the unorthodox aid of JADS case assistant Brenda Sica and paralegal/computer-hacker sexagenarian Phillip Paulson. Parker will need all of the help he can get, as he will face a less-than-helpful client with a cadre of dress-up followers, an opposing attorney who knows too many of his secrets, and a movie mogul whose power stems from his ruthlessness.

Image source: Seventh St. Books

Utilizing snappy dialogue, dexterous courtroom manipulations, and skillful interrogatories, Parker and his team are the underdogs who battle against the dark crimes of Hollywood, all the while continuing to entertain readers with their jaded humor and perseverance.

The sarcastic wit and humor that made the first Parker Stern novel, Corrupt Practices, so enjoyable continues to be present here and prevents the novel from descending into a dark tone despite the focus on victimization and powerlessness. Intersecting chapters narrated from the viewpoint of a young boy playing the Abduction! game elaborates on Parker’s own first person narration without distracting or disrupting the pace. Equally fascinating are Parker’s real childhood ties to an abusive cult and the role-playing, cult-like followers of Poniard and his games. Entertainment attorney Robert Rotstein once again incorporates his knowledge and experience into this very fun courtroom thriller that succeeds in making court depositions as riveting as the corruption and perversity of Hollywood.

To enter to win a copy of Reckless Disregard, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Reckless,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 21, 2014. U.S. residents only.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

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