Green 61 is a legal novel publicized as a thriller. While it is a very good read, it certainly is not a thriller. Rather, it is an exciting novel in parts, and the reader finds it difficult or unable to lay it down. Author Cody Fowler Davis does an outstanding job of addressing the problem facing our society with more and more lawyers descending down upon us from law school. The problem is, of course, unethical attorneys. As competition increases, some lawyers become desperate and lose their ethical standards. Allegedly aiding the downtrodden and unfortunates, they become overzealous. This novel is about some of these types. In his first novel, Davis delivers an exciting plot and character study, unusual for a new writer on the scene.
The story revolves around a collision of three boats near channel marker 61 on the Intercoastal Waterway in western Florida that causes the deaths of two children and an adult. The inevitable lawsuits soon follow, and the firms involved are owned by Anderson Parker and Justin Cartwright. Cartwright is the type of lawyer whom we would all dread opposing in a courtroom or law office - unscrupulous, unfair, corrupt and beyond redemption. Cartwright usually represents large corporations rather than individuals. He will do anything to win his case for his clients - and usually does.
Anderson Parker, on the other hand (and as might well be expected), is ours and the authorís hero. After three years of working for Cartwright, making good money and taking all types of abuse, insults and humiliations, Parker finally tells him off and is fired. He opens his own office and is making a living, but not at the standard that he and his family were used to when he worked for Cartwright. He interviews a doctor, a potential client who once observed him in a courtroom. The doctor advises that he has been in a terrible boat collision and his two children have been killed. This new case gives Parker a threefold opportunity: to obtain justice for his client, to build a reputation, and to get revenge on Cartwright, who defends the apparent negligent boat driver. Another incompetent lawyer joins the foray representing the third boater.
The actual courtroom battle follows, and the authorís legal expertise and experience becomes broadly evident to the reader. Further confusing the issues, Cartwrightís client was speeding and not paying attention, Parkerís clientís boat was overloaded, and the third boater was drunk driving. The reader will quickly find himself engrossed in the story, wondering which way the case will go.
This being the authorís first published work, what other masterpiece will follow? Davis is the second coming of Scott Turow or Robert Traver.