Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pg. 69: Martin Clark's "The Legal Limit"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Martin Clark's The Legal Limit.

About the book, from the publisher:
Martin Clark’s most remarkable novel yet is the gripping, complex story of a murder cover-up that wreaks widespread havoc even as it redefines the concept of justice—a relentlessly entertaining saga that delves deeply into matters at once ambiguous and essential.

While Gates Hunt chose to fight his abusive father head-on, his younger brother, Mason, eventually escaped their bitter, impoverished circumstances by earning a free ride to college and law school. And while Gates became an intransigent, compulsive felon, Mason met and married the love of his life, had a spitfire daughter, and returned to his rural hometown as the commonwealth’s attorney. But Mason’s idyll is abruptly pierced by a wicked tragedy, and soon afterward his life further unravels when Gates, convinced that his brother’s legal influence should spring him from prison, attempts to force his cooperation by means of a secret they’d both sworn to take with them to the grave. And with his closest friend and staunch ally suddenly threatened by secrets of his own, Mason ultimately finds himself facing complete ruin and desperately defending everything and everyone he holds dear.

Intricately plotted and shot through with authenticity, The Legal Limit is a roller coaster of moral relevance. What should govern our actions when family loyalty challenges personal integrity, when the letter of the law defies its spirit, and when fate plays dice with our best endeavors?
Among the early acclaim for the novel:
“A masterful mix of legal arcana and white-knuckle suspense.”
--Kirkus, starred review

“Profound and moving … his most substantial and thought-provoking work to date.”
--Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Clark’s wise, knowing novel [is] a superb thriller that ponders family, fraternal loyalty, marital love, child rearing, loss, integrity, tolerance, the fault line between law and justice, and even the economic well-being of a community.”
--Booklist, starred review

"Clark has outdone himself again. His novels just keep getting better. I'm thinking Martin Clark is the new standard against which other works of legal fiction should be judged."
--Winston-Salem Journal

"Fun you can think about. An engrossingly realized novel."
--Los Angeles Times

"A model of how to write a literary legal thriller with a wry sense of humor. This is probably the best courtroom story I've ever heard or read: Compelling characters, surprising twists, rich details, all told in a knowing voice ... "
--The Oregonian

"The sharp dialogue and clockwork plotting that have become Clark's signature ... permeate every page. As they might say in Stuart, Virginia -- Clark's home and the setting of THE LEGAL LIMIT -- the boy has done good."
--Chicago Sun-Times

"Compelling ... Clark has struck a fine balance between down-home ambiance and high-octane plot. Skillfully weaving a plot that includes lie detectors, wiretaps and arcane legal principles, the author creates a world in which family ties can easily turn into nooses."
--Washington Post
Read an excerpt from The Legal Limit, and learn more about the book and author at Martin Clark's website.

Martin Clark’s first novel, The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living, was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Stephen Crane First Fiction Award. His second novel, Plain Heathen Mischief, prompted The Charlotte Observer to call him “a rising star in American Letters.”

The Page 69 Test: The Legal Limit.

--Marshal Zeringue