Outside a gay bar in New Orleans, a young lawyer and a man he met only hours before are confronted by a group of drunks that have targeted them for a hate crime. So begins Grace Mead’s Defense of an Other. In the first few chapters leading up to the inciting incident, plenty of the dialogue and character interactions fell flat, but after the fight that ultimately ends a man’s life, our protagonist is thrown in jail. Then the book really takes off.
Mead lays out the trial proceedings and events that follow in the riveting way I’m sure only a lawyer of 17 years could do. She presents vivid drama with none of the theatrics or hyperbole that I’ve found pervasive in other legal thrillers. Instead, reading Defense of An Other felt like sitting in the court alongside all the other spectators, reeling as the case transpires, hoping for a not guilty verdict.