It’s that time of year when many lawyers are cleaning up loose ends on their case files, and recording a new voice mail message as they prepare to head out for summer vacation. So for the next few weeks we plan to deviate from our usual programming on the ESS blog and offer up a few special summertime postings. We start this week with our recommendation for the best beach reads of 2015.
No doubt many of you already have a preference when it comes to best-selling authors – some of you may be drawn to thrillers by James Patterson, others stick with tried and true favorites like John Grisham or Stephen King. But for us there is no better beach read available today than the Tug Wyler mystery series written by Andy Siegel. These books are really ideally suited for those of us who have put their time in the trenches as trial lawyers since the protagonist is a wisecracking New York PI attorney.
First a bit of disclosure may be in order. The author, Andy Siegel, is an old friend of ours and in addition to his considerable gifts as a suspense writer, Andy also happens to be a seasoned trial attorney and a client of ESS. So we are not exactly disinterested in making this recommendation. But we nonetheless make it whole-heartedly. Our view is shared by the critics, including the likes of People Magazine and Suspense Magazine, who have selected Andy’s books for a slew of distinctions and best-of-lists.
The fact of the matter is that the Tug Wyler mysteries do a great job of capturing the flavor and drama of personal injury practice here in New York City. There are two books in the series so far – Suzy’s Case and Cookie’s Case – and each of them is filled with a cast of characters who could easily be assembled from a sweep of the courthouse steps on Centre Street or Court Street – the wise guys, surly adjustors, sketchy witnesses and shadowy characters we’ve all had occasion to rub elbows with in the course of our practice. There is even a character named Brian Levine (a composite modeled after the two of us!) who plays a pivotal role in the stories when it comes to forge a settlement. The protagonist Tug Wyler is cut from the cloth of the ideal PI lawyer that we might all aspire to be – with a big heart and a quick tongue, he stumbles into all sorts of blind alleys and misadventures in the course of pursuing justice for his clients.
Andy has a natural gift as a storyteller. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising for an accomplished trial lawyer, since we all strive to master the art of telling our client’s story in a way that holds the rapt attention of the jury. But with each of the books in the series, Andy takes the basic facts of a personal injury case and manages to spin it into a suspenseful tale. Suzy’s Case tells the story of a young girl who falls victim to medical complications in the course of being treated at a Brooklyn hospital for her sickle cell. It’s both heart-rending and familiar in its detail, although with the plot twists it ends up being a bit more colorful and dramatic than the way we remember our own practice. The same is true for Cookie’s Case, which centers on the travails of a talented exotic dancer who suffers a spinal injury in the course of her performance at Jingles Dance Bonanza – and then falls victim to medical hacks.
We all know about the dangers of taking work away with us on holiday. But the Tug Wyler mysteries provide a great compromise solution – we can leave all the stress and anxiety of our real case files back at the office; and then we can sit back in the beach chair with these well-crafted books that remind us of all the reasons (good and bad) that we decided to become PI lawyers in the first place.
We only hope Andy keeps the Tug Wyler series coming.