An Interview with Adam Mitzner: Author of A Case of Redemption

amitznerJoining me on the blog today is author Adam Mitzner.  I’ve had the pleasure of reading two of his novels now, A Conflict of Interest and more recently A Case of Redemption.  Adam has generously agreed to participate in an interview to learn more about him and his works.  Enjoy!

What made you choose a new character instead of continuing Alex’s story from A Conflict of Interest?

When I finished A Conflict of Interest I thought that Alex Miller’s story arc had come to a resting place, at least for the time being. I wanted to start with a new character who was also in the midst of crisis, but one that was different than the kind of struggle that Alex went through. I actually wrote an article on my feelings about stand-alones and sequels, which has more on my thinking, and can be found here.

What made you choose this particular plot line?  I know that in your acknowledgements you mention that both this book and A Conflict of Interest are very loosely autobiographical.  How much of it was based on your own cases?

I’ve never worked on a murder case, so that’s not the autobiographical part. The part that’s from my own life is more about the struggles the characters face. In Dan’s case it’s that sense of loss that he feels. I’ve thankfully never suffered anything as dramatic as he encounters, but I think everyone has those moments in life when things look particularly bleak. I was trying to tap in to that feeling of despair and write about someone trying to seek redemption for past mistakes.

redemption-pressWhat was your favorite part about writing Dan’s character?

The most interesting part was trying to get inside Dan’s head and understand that feeling of hitting rock bottom. Having everything one moment and then losing it all. And then going the next step to capture what it must be like if you thought that, on some level, you deserved it. The question I wanted to address was — how do you come back from that?

What was your favorite scene to write?

One of my closest friends is named Matt Brooks, and so I enjoyed writing the scenes with the Matt Brooks character. My friend Matt is a card player, and so I consulted him about the black jack scene with Matt Brooks.

And now a few questions about you as an author:

I can see from your bio that you didn’t start writing until after you began practicing law.  Was writing   always your first passion or did it develop over time?

I’ve always been interested in writing, and of course I write a great deal as a lawyer. However, it wasn’t something I studied in college and never actually tried to write any fiction until a few years ago. It is truly a passion now, however. As my family will attest, I’m writing all the time that I’m not practicing law.

What’s your favorite part about being a writer?

Truth is that I love so many different things about it. First, there’s nothing like hearing people tell you that you’ve entertained them. Just thinking about the fact that people are enjoying something I created is a remarkable, almost surreal, experience. But I also find the process of writing exhilarating. The combination of crafting the story, delving into the inner psyches of the characters and using language to make it come alive is something that’s exciting every time.

I see that A Fall From Grace will revisit Cromwell Altman, the law firm in A Conflict of Interest.  Can you tell us anything else about this upcoming work?

My next novel does indeed return to Cromwell Altman, this time following the head of the firm, Aaron Littman. As the title implies, the story focuses on his potential downfall. There are twists and turns a plenty, but what I’m most excited about is that my wife thinks it’s the best writing I’ve ever done.

Thanks again for joining us, Adam!

You can connect with Adam on his facebook, Twitter, or Website

Todd’s Review of A Case of Redemption by Adam Mitzner

redemption-pressAs those of you who regularly read the blog know, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Adam Mitzner’s debut novel, A Conflict of Interest, last year.  It was a great read, and I eagerly awaited his sophomore follow-up, A Case of Redemption.  Although we are leaving the law firm of Cromwell and Altman behind (apparently we revisit it in his third novel), we get to follow an equally interesting lawyer named Dan Sorensen as he tries the greatest case of his life.

Dan Sorensen thought that he had it all: the perfect wife, a beautiful young daughter, and a prestigious job as a partner at the law firm of Taylor Beckett.  All that stopped, however, when he learned that both his wife and daughter were killed by a drunk driver.  Having devoted most of his adult life to the pursuit of his profession, Dan is wracked by guilt over not having spent enough time with his family and begins a downward spiral of self-loathing and drinking.  He is abruptly and reluctantly pulled from this timeline by a woman named Nina Harrington, whom he met at a Christmas party and drunkenly promised to help handle a murder case against a rapper known as Legally Dead.  L.D., as he is known to his friends, is charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Roxanne.  Roxanne is famous in her own right as a pop superstar, and the case has made headlines for months as one of L.D.’s songs specifically references killing someone with a baseball bat, which is precisely the way in which Roxanne was killed.  Now, not only does Dan need to convince the jury that L.D. is innocent despite all the circumstantial evidence, he must also embark on a journey of self-discovery and healing.  The trial is much more than just a job, it’s as if Dan’s very sanity hangs on the outcome.  Will he and Nina (who is acting as co-counsel) be able to pull off the impossible?  What will happen to Dan now that he has a purpose?

As I stated in my review of Mitzner’s earlier work, I loved how he was able to make a court proceeding so exciting.  This also rang true for this work, although there was a lot more that went on “behind the scenes” so to speak that the reader became privy to.  We got to see much of the pretrial motions and meetings that Dan and Nina had to work on, as well as the scenes in which they built their defense.  This work had a similar plot structure as A Conflict of Interest, and it seems as if it works well for Mitzner, as it kept me coming back for sure!  His character development is quite good, as Dan’s grief seems palpable and his rebound is not quick or unbelievable.  His interactions with Nina seemed genuine, and I became fully invested in his character.  Of course, this made the plot twist at the end all that much more of a surprise!  I won’t tell you what happens, but suffice it to say that Mitzner has twice now blindsided me with great plot twists that I never see coming!  Additionally, Mitzner made it more than easy to hate the book’s antagonist, Matt Brooks, but then again all good books have a character that you love to hate.  So, when putting everything together, from the plot twist, character development, and exciting legal drama, you have a great recipe for a suspenseful and engaging book that is impossible to put down.  I can’t wait until Mitzner’s third book (tentatively called A Fall From Grace) is released!

5 out of 5 Stars

A Case of Redemption by Adam Mitzner
Gallery Books (2013)
Hardcover: 322 pages
ISBN: 9781451674798

Special thanks to Gallery Books for my review copy!

Todd’s Review of A Conflict of Interest by Adam Mitzner

Ever since I read A Time to Kill by John Grisham many years ago, I’ve always liked courtroom dramas.  I’m not sure if it’s the looming suspense of whether or not the main character will be found guilty, or the heroic struggle of the protagonist attorney struggling against seemingly impossible odds to protect his client, but this genre really catches my interest.  So, I was obviously excited when offered the opportunity to read A Conflict of Interest by Adam Mitzner.  This is his first novel, and Mitzner has done a great job of entering the genre with an exciting and fast-paced read.

A Conflict of Interest begins by introducing us to Alex Miller, a prominent New York defense attorney at the firm Cromwell Altman.  The youngest partner in the firm’s history, Alex has experienced a wave of popularity that makes him well-liked amongst his fellow partners and clients alike.  Unfortunately, his personal life has not experienced the same successes as of late.  His father recently passed away suddenly, leaving his mother alone in Florida, far away from Alex and his family.  Additionally, his relationship with his wife has been strained due to his long hours at the office.  Things get more complicated when Alex meets Michael Ohlig, a longtime friend of his parents, at his father’s funeral.  Although he doesn’t go into specifics, he tells Alex that he is being investigated for securities fraud, and would like Alex and his firm to represent him.  Alex is able to keep this a secret from his mother for a while, but eventually she finds out, and is very distraught over it.  Additionally, Alex is paired with Abby Sloane, an associate at the firm who is widely regarded as on the short list for the next partner position that will open up at the firm.  Not only is she a great lawyer, but she is beautiful, and spends more and more time with Alex as they work on Ohlig’s case.  Of course, this puts even more pressure on Alex’s marriage, and threatens to derail his career if he were ever caught with Abby.  However, there is something much more sinister at play, and it is much bigger than any infidelity.  The twist at the end of this novel is one that no one saw coming (especially not me!)

Going in to this novel, I was pretty sure I’d like it, although I thought there may be a slight danger of encountering the inherent problem that all courtroom dramas face: how to make court proceedings exciting.  Don’t get me wrong, there is the potential for a lot of drama in a court case, but the difficulty is in making all the legal jargon translate into a gripping story.  Fortunately, Mitzner does this expertly.  He meticulously explains the lawyer-speak that pops up throughout the novel, and weaves a great story that draws the reader in with every page.  The romantic tryst dovetailed nicely with Alex’s impassioned defense of Ohlig in the trial, and every time I turned the page there was a new layer to the plot.  The twist at the end was one of the best I’ve read in a while, and I give Mr. Mitzner a lot of credit for how he played it out.  It definitely won’t disappoint you, and it’s no wonder that this book won Suspense Magazine‘s best book of 2011 award!  So, what are you waiting for?  Go read this one!

5 out of 5 Stars

A Conflict of Interest by Adam Mitzner
Pocket Books (2012)
Paperback: 512 pages
ISBN: 9781439196434

Special thanks to Pocket Books for sending me my review copy!