"The Legal Limit" is packaged as a thriller. That suspense keeps readers immersed in questions about legal and moral relativism. Published this summer by Virginia circuit court judge Martin Clark, the plot line is straight from Cain and Abel, with lots of other biblical themes such as Joseph and his coat of many colors and the suffering of Job.
In 1984, a smug law student instinctively - read brotherly love - makes the decision to cover up an impulsive - read over a girl - murder by his shiftless brother. The chickens almost come to roost decades later when one brother is a commonwealth attorney and the other is serving a 40-something year sentence for selling drugs.
Reviewer Harriet Klausner opines, "Martin Clark makes a case that the law may be so blind that achieving justice often fails." The case presented in this book, which Clark says represents a composite of actual ones, might be argued in a law school, with experts from the legal academy, sociology, ethics, and psychology commenting.
Here is an excerpt from "The Legal Limit." For marketing purposes, Clark has been described as the thinking and drinking man's John Grisham. That will boost sales. But Clark's future as a fiction writer will be based on his courage to take on complex issues - with Chaucerian irony.