Derek Dover is fast approaching a career crossroad all too familiar to young attorneys and accountants everywhere. In Derek’s particular case, Boston law firm Nibble & Kuhn is considering him for promotion to partner– and, as is usually the case, only three things can happen. He will be made partner; he will not be made partner and will have to resign himself to years of grunt-work for those who do reach that level; or he will be asked to leave the firm.
Derek, until recently, believed that his chances of being the one chosen to join the firm’s inner circle were pretty good. But things change, and he is finding out just how quickly that can happen. Derek has mixed emotions about the make-or-break case he suddenly inherits, one in which he is to represent seven young boys who claim to have gotten cancer from the industrial polluter located near their neighborhood swimming hole. He knows the case is inherently weak, and he is astonished at the poor preparation done by the partner who handled the case prior to dumping it in his lap, but he knows that winning the case is vital to the future of Nibble & Kuhn. He also knows that winning this case will almost certainly land him the partnership he wants so badly.
And then there is Maria Parma, one of Nibble & Kuhn’s newest and lowest ranking associates, with whom Derek is madly in love. The good news is that Maria is so in love with Derek that she can barely keep her hands off him even in the office. The bad news is that she is engaged to someone she has known all her life and cannot even imagine how she might break off that engagement without devastating the two families.
Nibble & Kuhn is a lighthearted look at a law firm gone mad. Despite the failings of the firm’s overall leadership and the despicable nature of the man at the very top, David Schmahmann finds enough humor in Derek Dover’s situation to make this one fun to read. His story is, of course, absurd. Or is it? Is justice, as dispensed by the American judicial system, really nothing more than a role of the dice? Is it all a matter of which side can place the highest number of gullible jurors in the jury box? O.J. Simpson, anyone?
Despite its serious (and disturbing) message, Nibble & Kuhn is filled with smile-out-loud moments as Derek and Maria struggle with their own relationship while trying not to look like total incompetents in front of a judge who recognizes the absurdity of the case they are representing in his courtroom. I think readers of Nibble & Kuhn will care about what happens to Derek and Maria and that they will be pleased with the book’s satisfying, if somewhat predictable, ending.
Rated at: 4.0
(Review Copy provided by Academy Chicago Publishers)