CBA Record February-March 2019

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The Journey to Vindication

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on a client’s new case—defending a dental association against antitrust and defama- tion claims brought by the owner of an organization seeking licensure from the association. Bill O’Coogan, a prominent business executive who has a clean record, is the plaintiff, and represented by a top- notch plaintiffs’ attorney. Jeffries sets out to show that his client’s statements are true, which is an absolute defense to defamation claims. As the book jacket makes clear, the journey to trying to vindicate his client is not easy. Jeffries faces “terrifying threats to his family, a midnight home invasion, car bombings, [and] a mob don ‘retired’ to Arizona.” The threats are real; people get hurt. But Jeffries refuses to withdraw from the case. Jeffries and his teamwork hard to gather evidence that O’Coogan is laundering money through a dental school and other investments, but they are up against not only organized crime but a talented lawyer. Jeffries and his legal team and family also face physical threats and some are injured. The case limps along to trial, and there Pelton is at his best, giving the patter of voir dire through opening statements and other elements of the trial. As the case proceeds, we get several surprises. The case ends with a shocking surprise that this reviewer will not disclose for fear of spoiling the fun. Pelton’s long and successful career at three major local firms shines through in his narrative and the private practice dia- logue, and the book and scenes generally are believable. Indeed, Pelton represented several medical and dental associations. (The scenes with organized crime trying

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Enemy in the Shadows By Russell Pelton Outskirts Press, 2018 Reviewed by Daniel A. Cotter

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Daniel A. Cotter is a Partner at Latimer LeVay Fyock LLC, a member of the CBA Editorial Board and a Past President of the CBA. I n Chicago lawyer Russell Pelton’s latest work of fiction, Enemy in the Shadows, Tony Jeffries returns as the main char- acter. We saw Jeffries in Pelton’s’ first two novels, The Dance of the Sharks and The Sting of the Blue Scorpion. Jeffries is a trial lawyer at a prestigious Chicago firm. We meet Jeffries as he is being briefed

to kill or do great damage to the defense team seem a bit too far-fetched.) As has been mentioned in previous book reviews of Pelton’s novels, he is an entertaining writer who hooks the reader from the first page and keeps the plot twisting and turning until the very end. His latest work is no exception, and worth a spin, with one minor critique- there are a number of punctuation mistakes that can be distracting. These errors might be the only enemy in the shadows lurking in this book.


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