Law and Disorder involves not one, not two, but three lawsuits, in all of which Deke is deeply involved. Initially, he is working on a products liability case focused on a birth control pill called Ranidol that causes patients to lose weight in addition to preventing pregnancy. Unfortunately, it is also killing women, something Bekmeyer Pharmaceuticals is trying very hard to keep quiet. Deke is fervently working the case in his home state of Florida with his team, including fellow attorneys Angus Moore and Ned "Threepio" Williams, Carol his investigator, and his daughter, Cara, an intern, when the unthinkable happens - the lead plaintiff dies in the courtroom. To make matters worse, Ranidol's effects hit much closer to home, affecting someone near and dear to him, causing him to want to defeat Bekmeyer at any cost.
Amidst the chaos from the Ranidol case, Deke takes on a case involving the polluting of a Southeast Texas community by a large oil company run by the Swanson Brothers, a wealthy pair of bullies. Unfortunately, these bullies are also very politically connected and don't like Deke interfering with their money train.
Now throw in local radio personality Pastor Rodney Morgan and his politician of choice, conservative Darl Dixon, both of whom would love nothing more than to see liberal radio star Nick Deketomis taken down a notch. When Ken Thorn, a member of Morgan's church, gets himself into trouble with an underage girl and some really incriminating pictures, the pair see an opportunity to rile Deke up, and in exchange for their help, they send Thorn off to pick a fight with Deke, hoping to get some nasty pictures of the fight to use against him. What happens is far more tragic, albeit accidental, and will find Deke fighting for his future in the most important case he'll ever experience. Lucky for him, he has powerhouse Gina Romano as his attorney, but with enemies on all sides, Deke will be hard-pressed to find his way out of this mess.
Law and Disorder consists of shortish chapters that make it very easy to pick up, read a bit, and put back down, which is something I really enjoy in a book, especially a thriller. I have a lot going on and being able to get a bit of reading in when I have a few minutes is just perfect. As I was reading and the different cases were popping up, I initially felt like Papantonio was muddying the waters with too much going on, but as the cases started to interconnect, things came together rather nicely. While I can't say I enjoyed Law and Disorder as much as an early John Grisham legal thriller, it's a fun read and has some pretty exciting stuff in it. I will warn you that it's fairly clear Mr. Papantonio is pretty liberal and has no love for conservatives or, for that matter, radio preachers. If you are a staunch Republican, you may be a bit offended by some of his leanings, which are clear in the book. However, if this doesn't bother you, and you enjoy a legal thriller with either a medical or environmental twist (or both!), check out Law and Disorder and look for our review of the sequel, Law and Vengeance, in the near future.