Monday, April 8, 2013
First, Kill All the Lawyers
By Reece Hirsch
When I wrote my first novel, I had only been a law firm partner for a few years and the memory of climbing up through the ranks as an associate was still fresh for me. That means that I had a little list in my head of people who had made my life miserable. When I wrote THE INSIDER, I have to admit that I did engage in a little payback. Someone had to die, at least fictionally.
I have been in law firms with colleagues who were brilliant, generous and fair-minded. I'm happy to say that my current firm falls into that category. I have also been in law firms that made GAME OF THRONES look like a sewing circle. (Note to self: I'm not sure if sewing circles are actually such models of tranquility. You have old people with grudges, pointy needles, etc. But I digress.) I once worked in the office of a law firm that was referred to by partners in other offices as "the bag of cats."
Sometimes it's a matter of perspective. When you're a junior associate, you are relatively powerless, and powerlessness brings out the inner Lannister* in certain people who are further up the ladder. Will Connelly, the protagonist of THE INSIDER, is on the cusp of partnership at the beginning of the book, which is a very precarious place to be. After being elevated to partnership, he doesn't forget what it was like to be on the other side of the law firm hierarchy, sticking up for an unjustly maligned associate at a partners meeting.
There is a character in THE INSIDER that does serve as my voodoo doll in which I exact a little revenge for my years of powerlessness as an associate. Actually, there are a few characters like that in the book, but only one of them dies. I must say that it was pretty satisfying.
The character in question is killed by gunshot, but as I recall the character and the real-life people that it was based on, I'm thinking that I may have left some good options on the table. If I had to do it over again, I think I would have gone for more of a multiple-choice approach. You don't want any Jason-like comebacks, right? In addition to the gunshot, I think the character might have benefited from the following, just to make sure that he was good and truly dead:
* Blow from machete
* Spear from spear gun
* Arrow from crossbow (is speargun AND crossbow too much? I'm going to say no.)
* Electrocution by live power line
* ... And then we unleash the feral wolverines.
Now that's payback.
* GAME OF THRONES reference for the uninitiated. Sorry, but I am currently obsessed with the new season.