Saturday, December 12, 2009

Review: Order of Protection: Nino Lama


In a perfect world there would be no need for lawyers; they could all retire and write books. But where would that leave the pretend lawyers who are now best-selling authors? perhaps in a fresh and crowded field. Nino Lama is a real lawyer, a trial lawyer, not just deeds, wills, and divorces. He has won landmark decisions, and had his life threatened more than a few times. And he writes books; vivid and accurate novels based on actual cases he has handled, and people he has known.

In his latest novel, “Order of Protection,” Nino’s father and son team of Vince and Mike DiMarco are plunged into a double mystery. When a longtime friend is served a order of protection, barring him any contact with his wife and children, the law firm also becomes entwined in his domestic life, a hell-hole full of adultery, addiction, embezzlement, and alcoholism. While on the other side of town, Vince’s trusted airplane mechanic is involved in a Federal investigation when a small plane he worked on crashes and its two passengers are killed.

Everyone in town seems to have their own opinion of what is going on as the two cases apparently become related; leaving Vince and Mike caught in the middle, and faced with the difficult task of getting to the bottom of things while trying to protect their clients.

As with Lama’s first two books in the Vince DiMarco series this book is fast-paced and well written and will keep you engaged, and guessing, right up until the very end. I do not hesitate to give it my highest recommendation.

Sidney Grayling

Sunday, March 22, 2009

GRATER LIFE; More Than a Collection of Stories


Stephen Poleskie’s latest work of fiction Grater Life is a complex and original book. Written in what could probably be labeled the novel-in-stories format, it is neither a novel, nor a collection of stories. A more accurate description would be a “novel about stories.”

The book has three narrators; the patient, Janus; the visitor, John; and an omniscient narrator who sets the scene, and provides comment and background. In the event you think this might make for a difficult read, quite the opposite is true. This book readily flows along, carried forward by the author’s eloquent and descriptive prose style. The reader eagerly moves from story to story, each one introduced by a dialog between the patient and visitor. Poleskie writes with a rich and full vocabulary, in the manner of such European authors as Bruno Schulz and Witold Gombrowicz, and with the dark praise of obscurity and failure found in Fernando Pessoa.

The story plots themselves are complex and varied, with names like; Scamming, The King of Jingles, A Six Veil Dance, and Whoopee Loot Bag. The stories are told over twelve months, in twelve chapters, and with a final chapter identified only by an ampersand. As they are revealed the stories provide us with an understanding of the storytellers themselves. We learn how the patient acquired the AIDS virus he is dying from, and how the visitor lost his wife to another women. We learn of lives destroyed by circumstances beyond ones control, and how these lives were put back together, only to be lost again. And we learn how two men antagonistic at first, believing they are complete opposites, can come to love one another, realizing that they are not so different after all.

Grater Life is a daring and irreverent book that deserves to be read by a wide audience. This reviewer does not hesitate to give it his highest recommendation.
Sidney Grayling
Wasteland Press, 2009, ISBN: 978-1-60047-291-6, 261 pages, paperback, $18.95