10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers

There are plenty of thrillers that focus on detectives and police officers finding and catching dangerous criminals. But what happens after a suspect is apprehended? The ten gripping books listed here delve into suspenseful and enthralling stories about the legal system, as attorneys, prosecutors, and judges work to uncover truth and ensure that justice is served. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Title Author(s)
1. Old City Hall Robert Rotenberg
2. The Verdict Nick Stone
3. Cried for No One Hubert Crouch
4. In Doubt Drusilla Campbell
5. Justice Redeemed Scott Pratt
6. Law of Attraction Allison Leotta
7. A Deadly Business Lis Wiehl & April Henry
8. Due Justice Diane Capri
9. Bad Faith Annie Jocoby
10. Justice Gone N. Lombardi Jr.
  1. 12 Angry Men (1957)
  2. A Time to Kill (1996)
  3. A Few Good Men (1992)
  4. The Client (1994)
  5. The Verdict (1982)
  6. Presumed Innocent (1990)
  7. The Pelican Brief (1993)
  8. Philadelphia (1993)

The Sociology of Crime

In Depth

Filled with the kinds of high-stakes scenarios only expert lawyers can negotiate, the books included on this list wring excitement and intrigue from the drama of the judicial system. Proving that the most pulse-pounding suspense sometimes happens in court, here, in no particular order, are ten smart and engrossing legal thrillers.

At #1 is "Old City Hall" by Robert Rotenberg. Kevin Brace is the preeminent radio talk show host in all of Canada, and he's just murdered his wife. Or so he claims. But although his wife is indeed lying lifeless in their bathtub with a knife in her chest, the case is much more complex than it appears. For one, the crime scene is covered with mysterious fingerprints. To make matters more complicated, Kevin refuses to speak to his attorney or even take part in his defense. The case deepens as prosecutors, detectives, and lawyers try to get to the bottom of what really happened.

For #2 we find "The Verdict" by Nick Stone. When his elite British law firm takes on a high-profile murder case, lowly legal clerk Terry sees it as his opportunity to get the promotion he's been longing for. But after discovering the accused is millionaire Vernon James, an old childhood friend he now detests, Terry realizes that working on behalf of the defendant won't be so easy. As he struggles with mounting a defense for Vernon, he dredges up secrets from their past together that cause him to reevaluate his loyalties.

As he struggles with mounting a defense for Vernon, he dredges up secrets from their past together that cause him to reevaluate his loyalties.

Coming in at #3 is "Cried for No One" by Hubert Crouch. In the heart of Texas, a university student's corpse has been dug up and placed in a vandalized small-town church. Suing the funeral home where their daughter's body was held for negligence, the young woman's parents hire brash lawyer Cal Connors to represent them. On top of having to face off with unwavering defense attorney Jace Forman, Cal has to contend with young hotshot journalist Leah, who's determined to expose him for his immoral legal tactics. Soon enough, the civil suit is evolving into a dangerously unpredictable trial.

For #4 we get "In Doubt" by Drusilla Campbell. While giving a speech at a park in San Sebastian, California, the state's governor is shot and wounded. The suspect is seventeen-year-old Donny, a nonviolent teenager with no criminal history. Curious as to how such a seemingly docile boy could do something so horrible, defense attorney Sophie Giraudo decides to represent Donny. As she learns more about the teen's troubled life at home, Sophie comes to confront her own past demons, which have led her to her current circumstances.

Arriving at #5 is "Justice Redeemed" by Scott Pratt. A virtuous young criminal lawyer, Darren Street drops his client Jalen Jordan after evidence comes out showing that the man killed two boys. Angered, Jordan threatens both his lawyer and his son, and soon after turns up dead. Now, subject to the vengeful calculations of a corrupt former district attorney he made enemies with years ago, Street is framed for his client's murder. Will he be able to locate the true killer from behind bars?

Will he be able to locate the true killer from behind bars?

For #6 we have "Law of Attraction" by Allison Leotta. Anna Curtis is a newly established Washington D.C. prosecutor who's representing domestic abuse victim Laprea Johnson. When Laprea lies on the witness stand in order to exonerate her abusive boyfriend, and is later found killed, Anna is assigned to the murder case. But when she discovers that her attorney boyfriend will be the one defending the perpetrator, she finds herself facing a harrowing dilemma. To bring justice to her client, the hardened prosecutor will have to risk it all.

Showing up at #7 is "A Deadly Business" by Lis Wiehl with April Henry. This second installment in the "Mia Quinn" series finds the titular Seattle violent crimes prosecutor struggling, after the death of her husband, to balance her career with her life as a single mother. While wrestling with a case involving the cruel actions of three teen boys, homicide detective Charlie Carlson comes to her with something even more urgent: he believes the accident that killed her accountant husband was in fact murder. Conducting an off-the-records investigation, Mia and Charlie uncover frightening secrets that could endanger their lives.

For #8 we come to "Due Justice" by Diane Capri. Carly, a lawyer for a company that manufactures breast implants, finds herself in dire trouble when she's accused of murdering a prominent plastic surgeon. Seeking help to clear her name, she turns to her foster sister Willa, a federal judge, and then promptly disappears. Willa begins her own investigation into the matter as she continually attempts to reach the elusive Carly. Wading through plenty of avarice and deception, the headstrong judge tries everything in her power to foil the conspiracy that has ensnared her sibling.

Wading through plenty of avarice and deception, the headstrong judge tries everything in her power to foil the conspiracy that has ensnared her sibling.

Landing at #9 is "Bad Faith" by Annie Jocoby. Disillusioned from a previous prosecution in which her client, after being freed of murder charges, went on to kill another person, attorney Harper Ross now takes refuge in the bottle. But when she is at her lowest, she receives what could be the case of her life: defending Heather Morrison, a transgender teen who says that she murdered her mother out of self-defense. Despite her reluctance to believe this claim, Harper dives into investigating. What she finds is a virulent culture of religious intolerance that could consume her even before she gets to court.

Finally, for #10 we find N. Lombardi Jr.'s "Justice Gone." Protests erupt in small-town New Jersey after an unarmed, homeless war veteran named Jay Felson is killed by the police. A trio of cops are shot down following the unrest, and Donald Darfield, Jay's black veteran friend, becomes the suspect. Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a P.T.S.D. counselor for both of the men, is prepared to stand up for her patient. Alongside aging lawyer Nathaniel Bodine, she will have to fight tooth and nail to save Donald from a legal system that wants him dead.