The best books to read after you’ve binged Law & Order

Adam Mitzner Author Of A Conflict of Interest
By Adam Mitzner

Who am I?

I come by my love of legal thrillers honestly – when I’m not writing them, I’m living them as a full-time practicing lawyer. The cases in my real-life legal practice are far less exciting than those experienced by the lawyers in my books (or the books I’ve recommended here), but the throughline that connects them is that in reality and in fiction, the stakes are very high, the people involved have a motivation for what they’ve done, and the outcome is always in doubt until that last page. 

I wrote...

A Conflict of Interest

By Adam Mitzner,

Book cover of A Conflict of Interest

What is my book about?

At thirty-five, criminal defense attorney Alex Miller is the youngest partner at New York City’s most prestigious law firm, with the life he’s always dreamed of. When Alex’s father suddenly passes away, Alex is introduced to Michael Ohlig, a rich and powerful man who holds an almost mythical place in his family lore. But Alex is surprised when Ohlig admits that he’s in serious legal trouble, accused of a high-profile financial scam involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

When Alex takes on Ohlig’s defense, secrets are revealed that force Alex to question the motives of all the people in his life. Most importantly, he must decide whether the identity he projects to the world is the man he truly is—or even wants to be.

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The books I picked & why

Presumed Innocent

By Scott Turow,

Book cover of Presumed Innocent

Why did I love this book?

The book that practically created the courtroom thriller and inspired a million lawyers (including me) to dream about writing fiction. It has everything you could want from a thriller and a legal procedural in one—a grisly murder, a narrator you root for but don’t entirely trust, a smooth defense attorney, a (maybe) corrupt legal system, and a shocking twist at the end.

If you haven’t read it—read it. If you have read it, read it again. I read it almost every year.

By Scott Turow,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Presumed Innocent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rusty Sabich is a prosecuting lawyer in Chicago who enters a nightmare world when Carolyn, a beautiful attorney with whom he has been having an affair, is found raped and strangled. He stands accused of the crime.

This 'insider' book by a Chicago lawyer was one of the great novels of the 1980s, selling more than nine million copies, and was made into a famous film starring Harrison Ford. It's a supremely suspenseful and compelling courtroom drama about ambition, weakness, hypocrisy and American justice.

Book cover of To Kill a Mockingbird

Why did I love this book?

This book influenced me to become a lawyer and still today serves as a poignant reminder about the strengths and weaknesses of the legal system. In some ways, Mockingbird speaks as much to our times as it did to 1950s America, which is one of the keys to its endurance.

Unfortunately, most of us read in middle school, which furthers the perception, as Flannery O’Connor famously claimed, that Mockingbird is a children’s book. However, reading it as an adult is an entirely different experience than you had back before you understood the gray (and sometimes darker) motivations that drive people to do the unthinkable.

By Harper Lee,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked To Kill a Mockingbird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped…

Miracle Creek

By Angie Kim,

Book cover of Miracle Creek

Why did I love this book?

The best books—legal thrillers or otherwise—transport you to an entirely different world. Miracle Creek does that as well as any book I’ve read in recent years. By the time I was finished, I not only felt like I’d gotten a masterclass in trial procedure, and was floored by the reveal, but I actually thought I’d learned something important about the immigrant experience as well as the difficulties all parents face in wanting to protect their children. 

By Angie Kim,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Miracle Creek as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'That wonderful, brilliant sort of book you want to shove at people as soon as you've finished so they can experience it for themselves' Erin Morgenstern

A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng about how far we'll go to protect our families - and our deepest secrets.

In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine - a pressurised oxygen chamber that patients enter for "dives", used as an alternative therapy for conditions including autism and infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two…

The Better Sister

By Alafair Burke,

Book cover of The Better Sister

Why did I love this book?

I first met Alafair Burke after my first book was accepted for publication (at a book reading she was giving) and she was extremely generous with her time and advice about being a crime-fiction writer. I’ve read most of her books, but this is my favorite, combining first-rate knowledge of the legal system with long-hidden family secrets and resentments. 

By Alafair Burke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Better Sister as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bestselling author of The Ex and The Wife
*The Girl She Was, available to pre-order now*
'Highly addictive' KARIN SLAUGHTER 'A major talent' HARLAN COBEN

Keep your enemies close and your sister closer...

For a while, it seemed like both Taylor sisters had found happiness. Chloe landed a coveted publishing job in New York City. Nicky got married to a promising young attorney named Adam McIntosh and became a mother to a baby boy named Ethan.

But now, fourteen years later, it is Chloe who is married to Adam. When he is murdered at the couple's beach house, she has…

Defending Jacob

By William Landay,

Book cover of Defending Jacob

Why did I love this book?

This is another book that I love because it goes beyond the crucible of the courtroom to address the one question that all parents wonder—is there anything we wouldn’t do for our children? I particularly liked the moral ambiguity of the characters, which kept me wondering what they would and wouldn’t do.

The Apple miniseries is good too, but read the book—either before or after you watch it.

By William Landay,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Defending Jacob as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If your son was on trial for murder, what would you do?

Andy Barber's job is to put killers behind bars. And when a boy from his son Jacob's school is found stabbed to death, Andy is doubly determined to find and prosecute the perpetrator.

Until a crucial piece of evidence turns up linking Jacob to the murder. And suddenly Andy and his wife find their son accused of being a cold-blooded killer.

In the face of every parent's worst nightmare, they will do anything to defend their child. Because, deep down, they know him better than anyone.

Don't they?

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