Rattlesnake Lawyer by Jonathan Miller

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"Watch for Rattlesnakes" reads the sign at the first rest stop within New Mexico's "Fighting 14th district. Young attorney Dan Shepherd has been fired from his mothers prestigious Washington law fir, and now must must make it among the rattlesnakes.

Rattlesnake Lawyer is best described as a Southwestern Novel, set in Southern New Mexico, it captures the geography and the small town setting very well. The Hispanic influence is the norm here and this one-time big city lawyer is the one that is out of place.

The justice system in this small town doesn’t work well but Miller brought some interesting twists to the plot. Young independent Attorney Dan Shepherd is in new town trying to get started with his legal work and finds it hard to make ends meet. The first case that comes his way, however, is anything but promising.

Shepherd is assigned the task of defending a memorable character, Jesus Villalobos, who is accused of a murder. Though his family and friends have nothing bad to say about Jesus, the State seems determined to send him to the gallows. What follows is Dan's quest to secure justice for his client and the bond that forms between the lawyer and his unusual client leads to an exciting courtroom drama.

Jonathan Miller was a new author back in 2004 when this his first book came out, and he is a practicing attorney. His expertise in law and courtroom procedure serves him well in Rattlesnake Lawyer and the novel reads like a well-prepared brief. A good book worth reading.