About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Slip & Fall by Nick Santora

3. – 692.) Slip & Fall by Nick Santora – Robert “Prince” Principe is a Brooklyn “ham-and-egger”. It is a derisive term for a small firm lawyer toiling far from the towers filled by giant legal factories of corporate lawyer. I hate it.
While a top graduate of Columbia Law School life in the law has not been good to Prince. His one man firm barely exists. His dream of representing the legions of working men of Brooklyn in profitable personal injury cases has never materialized. He is barely paying the office rent, is often late in paying his secretary Joey and has missed too many mortgage payments on his house. 
Prince does have a deft, self-deprecating wit: 
There’s a saying – if you have two years to kill and nothing else to do, become a chiropractor. But then again, I guess if you have three years, you could become a lawyer. 
When his lone potentially lucrative slip and fall action is dismissed and his beautiful wife tells him that she is pregnant Prince is overwhelmed by his financial problems. 
Desperate to find a way to make money as a lawyer Prince concocts a scheme and contacts his cousin, Jackie, a foot soldier for Big Louie Turro, the neighbourhood leader in a Mob family. Prince knows the Mob is always eager to find a way to earn dishonest money.
With that conversation Prince slips from being a well respected member of the legal profession and falls to being a shyster. He surrenders the integrity that is at the core of our profession. 
Prince comes up with a simple effective insurance fraud and the Mob swiftly provides a suitable client. He soon finds out that no one works with the Mob. It is the Mob which controls relationships.
Santora provides insights into the negotiations of personal injury litigation. Settlements are based on a give and take in which each lawyer calculates the risk of defeat. Lawyers determine the value of a claim based on the facts and law as they see them. Competing witnesses create the challenge of evaluating which facts are most likely to be found by the trial judge. The final number in a settlement negotiation is the quantification of the risk of losing for the competing parties. 
It is hard for me to like a book about a lawyer who choses dishonesty when he encounters  tough going as an honest lawyer.
While I found the opening a little slow Santora did grab me when he set out Prince’s decision to join the dark side and commit fraud.  
The book rushes forward with an appropriate ending. It has somewhat the feel of a T.V. series which is not surprising as Santora has produced and written shows for The Sopranos and Law & Order 
Slip & Fall is a nice easy read. I am not sure I want to read another Santora book if it is going to feature another lawyer gone bad. While I certainly recognize lawyers can be dishonest I dislike books which portray almost every lawyer as deceitful. To the contrary, almost every lawyer I know is trustworthy. I expect most readers feel uncomfortable when their profession is portrayed negatively. (Jan. 11/13)


  1. Bill - I understand what you mean about not wanting to read about a lawyer gone bad. There are so many unpleasant stereotypes and jokes about lawyers that I can imagine it's terribly frustrating for those of you who have integrity. It sounds as though this is an interesting story though, if not exactly a happy one. Not sure I'd want to know Prince in real life though...

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Prince is a fine guy until the going gets tough.

  3. Margot I agree with you and Bill "It is hard for me to like a book about a lawyer who choses dishonesty when he encounters tough going as an honest lawyer."

    I've not read this book yet but googling for it led me here (and what do you know I briefly lived in Melfort...small world) and to this review. I think I just might like this one regardless. Thanks for the review.