Review: The Last Trial by Robert Bailey

Last TrialMcMurtrie’s old nemesis, Jack Willistone, is found dead on the banks of the Black Warrior River. Willistone had his share of enemies, but all evidence points to a forgotten, broken woman as the killer. At the urging of the suspect’s desperate fourteen-year-old daughter, McMurtrie agrees to take the case.

But as seasoned as McMurtrie is, even he isn’t prepared for how personal and dangerous this case is going to get. With the trial drawing near and his sharp young partner, Rick Drake, dealing with a family tragedy, he recruits his best friend, Bocephus Haynes, to help investigate.

As key witnesses disappear and old demons return, time becomes McMurtrie’s most fearsome opponent. Soon loyalties will be tested and the boundaries of law will be broken as McMurtrie fights to save his legacy—and his client’s life—before the truth is buried forever in the muddy waters of the Black Warrior.


I couldn’t resist getting this book. I love the cover. It has such a vybe to it. Being a Grisham fan, I am always on the lookout for good legal thrillers. This one was perfect in every way.

The story begins with the murder of a man who has just recently been released from  jail. The police think they have their suspect. However, lawyer McMurtrie has a reason to fight the conviction. It’s a tough case especially with the mounting evidence and I was curious to see how the lawyer would handle it.

I didn’t know that this was the third book in a series until I started reading it. I quickly noticed references to past events in the characters’ lives. I was disheartened when I discovered that I was two books behind and this made me struggle a bit at the beginning of the story. It took time to know the characters and follow the case. However, a few chapters in, I was finally able to fully connect with the story. I really liked McMurtrie. He is a unique lawyer being over seventy years old and a law professor. McMurtrie has taught almost everyone in the legal profession in his town. He has also worked with many of the lawyers, judges and law enforcement officers so there is a lot of history there and most interactions (good and bad) were personal. The author tackled some really sensitive themes through McMurtrie’s back story. This made the story both suspenseful and emotional.

I liked the investigation and how it ran concurrently with the trial. There were a lot of tense moments as the case progressed. In addition, I wasn’t sure whether McMurtrie’s client was guilty or innocent so I kept turning pages seeking the truth while wondering whether he would win the case.

This is a wonderful legal thriller with enough twists and turns to make it a captivating read. I liked everything about it, from the characters to the case. I also enjoyed following the legal proceedings which were well portrayed. Everything was systematic in a way that made it easy to follow the case and hence get invested in the outcome. I can’t wait to go back and read the first two books in this series.

Although this can be read as a standalone, I definitely think the series is much more enjoyed if read in order. Definitely recommended for fans of legal thrillers.

A Criminal Defense by William L. Myers, Jr.

A Criminal DefenseLosing the trial of his life could mean losing everything.

When a young reporter is found dead and a prominent Philadelphia businessman is accused of her murder, Mick McFarland finds himself involved in the case of his life. The defendant, David Hanson, was Mick’s close friend in law school, and the victim, a TV news reporter, had reached out to Mick for legal help only hours before her death.

Mick’s played both sides of Philadelphia’s courtrooms. As a top-shelf defense attorney and former prosecutor, he knows all the tricks of the trade. And he’ll need every one of them to win.

But as the trial progresses, he’s disturbed by developments that confirm his deepest fears. This trial, one that already hits too close to home, may jeopardize his firm, his family—everything. Now Mick’s only way out is to mastermind the most brilliant defense he’s ever spun, one that will cross every legal and moral boundary.


I have had this book since March but didn’t get a chance to read  it until last Saturday. It took only one sitting to get through it. This book was something else. It’s the kind of book that you read and end up thinking about long after the last page.

A Criminal Defense by William L. Myers, Jr. tells the story of Mick and David. The two are friends but soon become lawyer and client when David is accused of murder. Right from the start, David claims that he is innocent. Of course, few criminals admit their guilt so this is isn’t quite a surprise. Mick decides to represent him even though it is not clear if he believes in his innocence or not. One thing that was very clear was that Mick was not going to let anyone else defend David. He was totally committed to be the one to do it.

In the first chapters, readers get to meet all the key characters from Mick, his wife Piper, David and his wife, Marci and Tommy who is Mick’s brother. The chapters give their background stories in detail. The relationships are so complex but contain juicy details that made me want to know more about this group of people. They were complex but realistic. There were instances when my heart broke due to the things that they underwent. Most of the time though, their actions just baffled me in a way but I totally loved it.

The story has so many twists. It isn’t a regular case. There are lies, schemes and blackmail. The number of affairs was crazy and this just complicated the case. Both sides of the case are playing dirty and everyone desperately wants to win. The schemes had me shaking my head. I loved seeing what the teams were coming up with especially on the side of the defendant.

This book has one of the best main twists that I have ever read in a thriller. It shocked me so much that I had to stop reading and take a walk to clear my mind. It was unpredictable and just perfect. Looking back, I guess the clues were there but still, I don’t think that I could ever have guessed that ending.

As you can see, I loved A Criminal Defense by William L. Myers Jr. I think the author did a brilliant job with the twists, criminal case and the character development. The book had everything that I like in thrillers. It was suspenseful with twisted, devious characters that I liked due to all the drama that they brought to the story. I liked how brilliant the lawyer was and the courtroom drama was so intense. Throughout the trial, I knew a bombshell was coming but I couldn’t have guessed it. If you like legal thrillers, domestic noirs or simply suspenseful, well-written books with great twists then you should definitely read this one.