Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Review - In Firm Pursuit by Pamela Samuels-Young

Title: In Firm Pursuit
Author: Pamela Samuels-Young
Year: 2007
Page: 432
Genre: Fiction - Legal Thriller

New to me author? Yes
Read this author again? Maybe...
Tearjerker? No
Where did it take place? US
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from 
After winning a multimillion-dollar verdict in a race-discrimination case, Vernetta Henderson's legal career is definitely on the upswing. Just weeks away from a coveted partnership at her prominent law firm, the African-American attorney takes on the defense of a major corporation in what appears to be an open-and-shut case of sexual harassment. But Vernetta soon discovers that the case is not what it seems. After passing up a chance to settle the lawsuit for a minimal amount of money, a string of unforeseen events places the entire case -- and her own promising future -- in jeopardy. It's bad enough having to work with a pretentious second-year associate who has her own agenda. Now Vernetta finds herself going up against the smooth-talking litigator she once beat at trial. And just when she needs her husband, Jefferson, most, he finds himself in a compromising position that could destroy their marriage. As more troubling revelations about the case emerge, Vernetta uncovers a far-reaching conspiracy of corporate greed, deceit and violence that will touch many lives, including that of her closest friend. With both her private and professional lives spiraling dangerously out of control, Vernetta is about to discover what really matters -- and how far she'll go to protect the people she loves . . .

First Sentence:
Karen Carruthers had never thought much of women who filed sexual harassment claims.  

Why did I pick this book?
I like reading legal thrillers (think Primal Fear by William Diehl or books by Scott Turow). I haven't heard of this author, so when Random Ramblings reviewed another book (Turning Time) by the same author, and gave it a great review, I thought I'd try this author. My library doesn't have Turning Time, so I borrowed the only book they have on loan, which is In Firm Pursuit.

My thoughts:
  • I was disappointed - I was hoping for some great legal court scenes with great or witty dialog - which was what I was primarily interested in such as the arguments from the opposition, the way the lawyers framed the case or "trapped" the witnesses, all the clever tactics they delivered their case etc. It just didn't happen in this book...
  • I felt indifferent about the main protagonist, Vernetta. She was smart and all that, and wanted to prove herself - these were qualities I admired, but for some reasons she just didn't really appeal to me. I just didn't feel for her when she went through all the different events that happened to her
  • The character I liked the best was Special, Vernetta's best friend (yes that was really her name). I think the author just crafted her better, that she seemed more like a real person, that you felt like you wish you have a friend like that
  • The writing was easy enough to read, but the story could have been shorter, and the plot dragged on a bit. There wasn't a whole lot happening and there were some side stories that I thought distracted from the real story. The whole twist to the mystery wasn't that mind-blowing
  • Some characters also seemed so stereotypical - the rich, white young girl who wanted to prove herself but nobody liked, the good looking, smart guy end up being gay etc...
  • And I felt that the author didn't really approve of biracial relationships and that people should stick their own race - "I wondered sometimes if he regretted crossing the tracks".  Maybe I am just a bit more sensitive when it comes to biracial relationship since I am in one. 
  • There were quite a bit of references to "chocolate bodies" or "brown bodies"...I just wasn't sure if it was necessary. It was one thing to be proud of your ethnic background, but over-doing it distracted from the story
  • Two stars only because I was hoping for a good legal thriller, or at least a good mystery/murder/thriller without the court room drama. The book was more about a lawyer who was trying to prove herself and all the stuff that happened while she was at it, rather than about a criminal case. There were many good reviews on amazon and goodreads though. I guess it was just not what I was expecting.

    Rating: 2 Stars

    Have you read this book? 
    If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!

    100+ Reading


    1. You must read Buying Time I think you will like it, I was so impressed I definitely want to read her other books but maybe not this one now.

    2. You know, I'd love for you to read In Firm Pursuit to get your take on it, just to see if I'm reading too much into it or am being too picky!!

    3. I read way slower than you but I will add it to the list, definitely give her newest a try.

    4. I have requested Buying Time from the inter-library loan :) There is one library in the network that has it so hopefully they approve the request!

      It looks like Buying Time is a stand alone (unless it becomes a new series) as her other 3 books are Vernetta books. Seems like In Firm Pursuit is Book2.

    5. I liked Buying Time but I haven't read any of her other books. I'm not sure I would mind the chocolate and brown bodies that much but I haven't read the book. That said, I know that I've read a number of books where the heroine's white skin is described multiple times and I remember finding it cringe-worthy.

      - Christy