Teaser Post: Beach Lawyer by Avery Duff

by - 6:36:00 PM

Hi hello and welcome to a teaser post for Beach Lawyer by Avery Duff! I'll be posting a review on this book soon so be sure to keep an eye out for that, but to get some excitement going, I'll be sharing a bit about the book and a fun Q & A with the author of this exciting Adult Thriller from Thomas & Mercer! Let's get started!

About Beach Lawyer:

After five grueling years, Robert Worth is just days away from making partner at a powerful Santa Monica law firm. When a client confides in him that senior partner Jack Pierce sexually assaulted her, Robert breaks two of his mentor’s cardinal rules: Never let yourself get emotional about clients. And never make an enemy of Jack Pierce.

Robert crosses Pierce and is fired on the spot, losing not only his job but also his reputation. Advised to go quietly, Robert vows revenge against the ruthless man who betrayed him. But his investigation uncovers a twisted shadow world of sex, infidelity, and deception, where nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted. Only one thing is clear: Pierce will go the limit to keep his secrets.

This straight shooter will need to use every angle if he hopes to win. But could victory come at too high a price?

A Conversation with Avery Duff:

Q: Our protagonist, Robert Worth, immediately comes off as a trustworthy, salt-of-the-earth guy. Was it important to you that the reader like Robert straight away? How did you work to lay this foundation?

Yes, it’s critical the reader like him up front, which is really nothing more than screenwriting 101. On screen, the hero is twenty feet tall so right off, the audience must either like the hero or love to hate him. The idea in Beach Lawyer was to get the point across quickly: even though Robert is a lawyer, don’t hold that against him. But know that if push comes to shove, he’s not going to back down. On the handball court, early on, I show that, both in the way Robert handled a line call and in its physical aftermath. Like him or not, my intention was that the reader won’t mind going on a trip with this guy. And just as important, once he’s in his office, we quickly learn that he does a great job and expects commensurate rewards. Human stuff.  Fair stuff. Likeable for that reason, too, I hope. 

Q: In Beach Lawyer, the beautiful southern California coast and dazzling Pacific Ocean unsurprisingly play big roles, both in the setting and in the plot. Why did you choose this as the backdrop?

Two reasons. 

First and foremost, I live here and I know it. And second, on the thematic side of life, the physical beauty serves as a nice counterweight to the dark underbelly of the characters.  As noir author, Jim Thompson, might have put it: people in paradise are “on the grift.” Stanley’s bronzed-tan overlay on his needle tracks is a graphic example, but let me be real clear—corruption and secrets in Beach Lawyer are in no way the exclusive province of a street-level piece of work like Stanley. 

Q: So much of the suspense in Beach Lawyer comes from the fact that Robert's nemesis, Jack Pierce, always seems to be one step ahead of him. How did you balance building faith that Robert at least had a chance of coming out on top with the healthy doses of doubt that he was in way over his head?

A great question and a difficult one to answer. If I screw up the balance between doubting Robert yet believing he can pull it off, I lose the reader. The answer, I think, gets back to your first question—liking Robert and trusting him. If I pull that off, the reader will root for him to win against the inevitable setbacks and apparent brick walls. That done, I’ve created the right kind of tension with his adversary, Jack Pierce.  Now, exactly how did that balance happen? Well, that’s the book, isn’t it?

Q: A big theme in Beach Lawyer is that of broken promises and shattered trust - both personal and professional - with many of the characters leading double, if not triple, lives. Do you think that lying and scheming can be acceptable means to an end? Where do we draw the line?

In this world, acceptable, yes. And necessary. It may well be that the only person who doesn’t actually lie in the book would probably list Criminal as his occupation. Lying. It’s a funny thing. Everyone does it. Everyone. But a line? Years ago, I met someone at a gathering of four adults who told me, “I never lie. You can ask anyone.” A red flag, right? An hour later, a hundred dollar bill went missing. Again, only four people in attendance and he was one of them. Other people wondered who took it, but I didn’t. And when he denied it, I saw a person lying about stealing.  There’s a line. I think he crossed it twice. I can’t tell you exactly where it is in Beach Lawyer, but I do know that people in this book—the ones I want you to root for? They’d better not cross it. 

Q: What was your inspiration for this story?

Living here at the beach, practicing law in another life, drinking bad coffee and hanging out with a variety of off-kilter people.  That and wanting to write a lawyer story about a corporate lawyer.  A guy whose tries to keep clients out of court. And of course, there are writers who already do the fictional, LA courtroom scene exceptionally well—you know who you are, Michael Connelly!—and if you can’t top ‘em, don’t try to join  ‘em. (Maybe one day…)

Q: What's your next project? Will we be seeing Robert Worth again?

Yes. That is, if he makes it through the first book! The title for the second book is currently under wraps. I will tell you that both Robert and his client like eating pigs in a blanket and that his client is a human being.  I really can’t say too much more right now without spoiling Beach Lawyer. And everyone at Thomas & Mercer has worked too hard for me to do something crazy like that. 

Books like Beach Lawyer aren't usually my kind of read. I mean, I love me a good thriller, but a legal thriller? I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy it, but so far, I actually really like it. I'm starting to branch out with my reading more and a huge part of that is because of the wonderful Ashley Vanicek from Thomas & Mercer/ Lake Union Publishing. Thank you so much to Ashley for sending Beach Lawyer my way and opening up my eyes to a genre of books I've been seriously missing out on! Keep an eye out for my review of Beach Lawyer coming soon and thank you so much for checking out this super fun little Q&A with author Avery Duff. 
See you in the next chapter!

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