The trial of Peter Duffy—the accused of a murder in Strattenburg—is being held; and of course, Theo Boone, the teenage lawyer, won’t miss the chance to watch it, although it is happening during school hours. Really! I would be delighted to go to school like Theo’s, where they have debate class and all, and when we could discuss and analyze cool stuffs like a real murder case! :) Anyway, Pete Duffy’s is a case from Theo Boone #1: The Kid Lawyer. It is a small surprise that Grisham picks it to open the story.
Returning to school, Theo realizes that it’s not his lucky day at all. Not only that Pete Duffy was suddenly missing, so that the trial is cancelled, Theo now finds his locker has been burglarized, his baseball cap was stolen, and in the parking lot he finds that his bike’s tyre has been cut. There has to be someone who hates him or wants to upset him, but who? But instead of reporting the burglary (it’s only a baseball cap anyway) to the school, or telling his parents about his tyre (he has spent two tyres this month, and one more will annoy his dad), Theo tells himself that it’s just another bad day. But, is it?
When someone stoned his office window, things begin to get serious. However, before Theo can think what he should do next, two detectives who searched his locker, found stolen gadgets Theo has never seen before. Theo is accused, and he can be jailed in teens’ prison if he cannot prove himself innocent. Now, things get super serious!
Just like two previous series, Theo Boone always provides light and enjoyable reading. John Grisham is really genius to aim teenage market for his legal novels, as years later they would be a delicious market for his more serious legal thriller. And what’s more, Theo Boone can also satisfy us, adult, his loyal readers. Serious or not, light or tough, it’s still Grisham, and everyone knows he is a very good story teller.
What I like from The Accused is how Grisham reminds us that Theo Boone is an ordinary teenager. Although he is the main protagonist, it doesn’t mean that he is perfect. He’s not a hero, he’s just a teenager whose parents are lawyers, and so it’s normal if he has a lot of interest in legal stuffs. He understands laws (perhaps more than most of those real lawyers), but sometimes he can make mistakes too. Like now, when the sky is like falling on him, when the teenage lawyer is threatened of being jailed.
As usual, there are a lot of ‘whys’ and ifs’: why didn’t Theo reported the burglary right away? If so, the police won’t suspect him, and so on. But, as in real life, things go wrong, and it is like the universe is conspiring against us. It looks like stupidity from the outside, and we do feel stupid after that, then our mind is going numb as the result. The same happens to Theo. His cleverness seems evaporated, but thanks to Ike Boone’s clear observation, the case meets a clear path.
And Theo’s unwise decisions here only show his typical teenage character, the want to manage everything by themselves, feeling capable to handle everything, and don’t need adult’s interference. Yep, it is very understandable, and I’m glad Grisham created Theo Boone like who he is in this series; and please don’t change it, Mr. Grisham! It’s so relieving to read natural humane story like this. Now I’m only wondering, will Theo develop more in the upcoming series? Can’t wait to read the next one!
Four stars for Theo Boone....
I read Gramedia Indonesia-translation edition
*This book is counted as:*
7th book for 2013 TBRR Pile Mystery Reading Challenge