The Case Runner

The Case Runner - Carlos Cisneros

This is a very readable legal thriller by a first time author (dare I call him "Baby Author?")

His "Baby Lawyer," Alex, finds himself in a terrible quandary before he has had time to even unlock his front door on his first day of work. A bewildered looking man, clothes still disheveled due to crossing the river from Mexico under cover of darkness and fog, is standing in front of Alex's building. Moved by concern, Alex asks the man in and Pilo follows. Alex is intrigued by the man's story, and clearly, Pilo needs help. But Alex is reluctant to jeopardize his recently acquired license and his future livelihood -- helping an illegal alien would be cause for disbarment. Should he do the Legal thing? Or should he do the Human thing?

Not many hours later, Alex meets another character who offers to bring cases to Alex for a fee. Although this is an unethical practice, the man assures Alex that this is how things are handled here, and attorneys can't survive if they don't follow the custom. Should Alex do the Right thing? Or should he do the Lucrative thing?

Although this is a compelling page turner, there are spots in this first novel that are jerky and uneven. For instance, when the trial starts, we are privy to the examination of the first witness, and then all of a sudden we are in the second week of the trial. (I had to turn the page back just to make sure I had turned only one.) And I had problems with the way Alex's "romantic" relationships played out; but I asked my husband, and it seemed okay to him, so undoubtedly it's a guy thing, and makes perfect sense from that point of view.

There were also a couple of things that were not fully explained in the book, for instance "impeachment witness." At first I counted that as a flaw, but then I decided that any book that was interesting enough to make me want to flip open my laptop and consult Wikipedia had a lot going for it.

You will be amazed at the amount of graft, corruption, and fraud that are portrayed in The Case Runner. I mentioned it to an insider in the South Texas Justice System, though, and was assured that Mr. Cisneros was not making it up. It seems we should have a lot more Activists being active here in Texas. (Sorry, that last sentence had nothing to do with the review, and I should probably take it out, but decided not to.)

I really enjoyed the part where Alex plays fairy godfather. He takes a liking to his cab driver, Romeo, and offers him a job in his fledgling law firm, and throughout the course of the novel they add more people in like manner. I love the scene where they go to Dillards, and the sales clerk is so helpful in outfitting them for their new roles as office jocks.

All in all, a very enjoyable first novel that touches on many subjects that are so relevant. Having just read his author's blog, I see that his next one will not be about Alex, which is disappointing. Alex and the people in his office have a lot of potential for entertaining us further; and I hope that Mr. Cisneros plans to re-introduce them eventually. Still, I anticipate his next book -- sounds like it's going to be good too.