[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: Russell Babcock
Formats: Paperback, eBook, Kindle
Purchase: Powell’s | Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | iBooks[/alert]

Russell Sheridan Babcock takes readers into the world of trial lawyers and drug smuggling in his novel The Blind Mule. The story focuses on Mark Porter, a successful criminal defense attorney who becomes embroiled in a case in which he is the victim. Babcock uses knowledge gained from years as an actual criminal defense attorney to introduce the very real topic of what can happen to people who unknowingly transport drugs over the border of Mexico and the United States. Babcock’s first novel is a success, blending page-turning legal thrills with comfortable characters, exciting settings, and enough factual information to create an entertaining, relevant story. The eBook format is also clear and enjoyable to read.

The characters in the story are delivered to the reader in a fully developed and structured fashion that makes them accessible to young adult readers. This writing trait, coupled with the fast-paced story and unpretentious explanations of confusing legal proceedings and jargon, creates a John Grisham-type book perfect for high school students. The clear explanations are illuminated through the character of Jason Spurlock, who holds the dual titles of Mark Porter’s protégé and his defense attorney. Spurlock’s first trial is to defend his boss and mentor Porter, who coaches him through the technicalities and subtleties of courtroom law.

The setting of the story sets a tone and purpose. Although the trial and majority of the story takes place in San Diego, there are also characters and scenes in Mexico and Colombia. The international tone allows readers to examine the issue of drug smuggling from all angles and providing critical worldly background information. The story also has enough suspense throughout that not only encourages readers to keep turning pages, but also allows them to imagine themselves as the attorneys.

Russell Babcock’s first novel is a structured effort, and seamlessly scaffolds a story that is imaginative, educational, suspenseful and enjoyable. Readers will enjoy this read, and perhaps look for the characters of Jason Spurlock or Mark Porter in future books.

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