The Good Lawyer
Benigno presents an engaging but diffuse picture of legal skirmishing and moral ambiguity in the saga of Nick Mannino, a young attorney with the Legal Aid Society of New York City. The shocking suicide of Dina Rios, who leaps to her death from the courthouse after Mannino successfully defends her rapist, introduces the conflict of a lawyer's obligation to his client versus the claims of justice. This conflict colors Mannino's representation of 24-year-old Pedro Guevara, accused of sexually abusing three young boys. While vigorously defending Guevara—at a time when the "Spiderman rapist" is terrorizing New York—Mannino struggles to define his relationship with wealthy girlfriend Eleanor Vernou. The interesting glimpses of courtroom procedure and a cast of eccentric characters will intrigue readers, but do not fully offset the book's somewhat unconvincing plot.