Suzy’s Case by Andy Siegel

Suzy’s Case by Andy Siegel
Scribner/July 10th, 2012
Suspense/Legal Thriller

When Henry Benson, a high-profile criminal lawyer known for his unsavory clients, recruits Tug to take over a long-pending multimillion-dollar lawsuit representing a tragically brain-damaged child, his instructions are clear: get us out of it; there is no case.
Yet the moment Tug meets the disabled but gallant little Suzy Williams and June, her beautiful, resourceful mother, all bets are off.
With an offbeat, self-mocking style, Tug Wyler’s a far cry from your ordinary lawyer. Unswerving in his dedication to his mostly disadvantaged clients, he understands only too well how badly they need him with the system stacked against them. Tug is honest about his own shortcomings, many of them of the profoundly politically incorrect variety, and his personal catchphrase, handy in all situations, is “At least I admit it.”
When his passionate commitment to Suzy’s case thrusts him into a surreal, often violent sideshow, the ensuing danger only sharpens his obsession with learning what really happened to Suzy. Blending razor-sharp intuition, intellectual toughness, and endlessly creative legal brinkmanship, Tug determinedly works his way through a maze of well-kept secrets—encountering a cast of memorably eccentric characters along the way—to get to the truth.

Tug Wyler is a personal injury lawyer who has taken on cases for a high powered criminal attorney, Henry Benson. The problem is, part of the deal with taking these cases, is they’re sight unseen and more often than not put Tug in unenviable positions with his client. Usually these cases involve felons trying to commit insurance fraud, and Tug would rather get reprimanded by the Office of Professional Conduct than represent this kind of client. However, when Benson hands him Suzy Williams’ file, he has no idea that this will be a very different kind of case, one that he’ll want to see through, even if it destroys his career.

Suzy’s Case begins with the incident in the hospital that supposedly led to Suzy’s current condition, six years later. Suzy Williams has sickle cell anemia, which, through complications, has led to her current condition, which is severe cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia. Also, her intellectual development has been compromised, and she only functions at a 2 year old level. The intro read a bit awkwardly to me, but once we got past that and onto Tug’s narrative, I was pretty much hooked right away. In all fairness, this was probably due to the Caribbean nurse’s patois, which took some getting used to (so, a small thing, really). Tug Wyler is middle aged, married with three kids, has a beautiful receptionist that’s been with him for 10 years (and takes none of his crap), and has an eye for the ladies (which he’ll never act on, but flirting is certainly not out of the question.) He’s also smart-mouthed, rather obnoxious, and funny as hell. You’d think someone like Tug would be the absolute wrong person to handle a case like Suzy’s, but you’d be wrong. Aside from the smart mouth, Tug’s also sharp as a tack, and there’s a heart of gold lurking underneath the obnoxious exterior. Benson claims that Suzy and her mom June have no case, but Tug believes otherwise, and against all of his better instincts, decides to fight it out as far as he can. One of the best moments, and most heartbreaking, is when he goes to the independent exam of Suzy by the doctor hired by the hospital, and Suzy won’t open her arms because her scar embarrasses her. Tug makes a connection with her, and really sees this beautiful, damaged little girl for the first time: not as a paycheck, but as a person.

He’s really sort of built a bit of a wall around him because of what he does and doesn’t allow himself to get emotionally involved, and that wall comes down for just a little bit. The author knows his stuff, because he’s a personal injury attorney himself, and he manages to detail the case and the ins and outs of medical litigation without talking down to his readers or getting bogged down in jargon, and it’s actually quite fascinating. He also has a gift for some of the funniest dialogue I’ve read in a long time, and there were quite a few laugh out loud moments for me. I was reminded at times of the Stephanie Plum series (which I love), and I can see myself getting as attached to Tug as I am to Stephanie. I mean, how can you not love a guy that gets a tingle in his nether regions when he’s getting close to a breakthrough on a case? There are lots of twists and turns in this one, plenty of thrills, and perfect for when you want something funny in between darker reads. This debut is pure fun and I’ll look forward to Tug’s next case!

For a list of Tug’s (hilarious) philosophical precepts, click HERE

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