Full Disclosure, by Beverley McLachlin (2018)

Mystery
Adult
Full Disclosure, by Beverley McLachlinLast week I reviewed a book by a librarian and teacher turned author; this week it’s a lawyer/judge turned author! Another Canadian novel, this one is a mystery by Beverley McLachlin, who recently stepped down as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, featuring young defence lawyer Jilly Truitt. Once a foster kid who teetered on a life on the streets, Jilly graduated law school and now heads a small but aggressive firm in Vancouver where she owns a condo,  drives a Mercedes, and regularly spends weekends with her longtime boyfriend Mike St John. She fights hard for underdog clients, knowing she could easily be in their shoes, had she not gotten a couple of breaks. In Full Disclosure, she takes on Vincent Trussardi as a client, a rich West Vancouver entrepreneur accused of murdering his wife. Is he guilty? Jilly slowly builds her case despite a mountain of circumstantial evidence – his gun, their bed, her recent affair, and a wobbly alibi. But the case soon consumes her, costing her personally, and she grows increasingly distrustful and even paranoid. Of course, Jilly’s past as a foster child means she struggles with commitment and trust, but these are exactly the traits that make her a great lawyer, always suspicious that witnesses and prosecutors alike are hiding something. McLachlin draws from her experience on the bench, as well as a pioneer in the early days of women in the legal profession, to create an authentic story that provides an unflinching and occasionally jaded view of Canada’s justice system. The book could easily be titled Law and Justice Ain’t the Same Thing. She also takes a wry poke at herself when she writes of Jilly seeing the Chief Justice’s portrait and noting that it was taken “when she was young and looked good.” That Chief Justice is none other than McLaughlin herself, of course. I like self-deprecating humour; the world needs more of that. However, I will also admit to being quite irritated by Jilly’s habit of referring to herself as a girl throughout the book. She’s 34, for pete’s sake, with a law degree, a firm of her own and more. Grrrr. Other than that, I really enjoyed this classic legal procedural with an ending that promises justice despite the court case, and just maybe another case featuring this dedicated young lawyer who beat the odds. My thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for the advance reading copy provided through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37880604
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