The President's Lawyer
April 6, 2024

Book Review

The President's Lawyer

Jack Cutler, a one-term former Democratic president, has been arrested for the murder of Amanda Harper, a 32-year-old junior lawyer who worked in Cutler’s White House Counsel’s Office. Harper’s body was discovered in Rock Creek Park, strangled, with rope burns on her wrists and ankles.

Nearby, a small, locked briefcase was found, with a dinner knife from the White House ‘James Monroe Collection’ wedged into the opening.

Cutler, married to Jess Friedland Cutler and father to two teenage children, Gretchen and Harlan, is known for philandering and rumored to have a penchant for rough sexual encounters, including choking and hitting women.

Aware of the gravity of his situation, Cutler seeks out the best criminal defense lawyer he knows, his lifelong friend Robbie Jacobsen. Despite Robbie’s previous romantic feelings for Amanda, Jack confesses their affair to him. Robbie, hesitant at first, agrees to represent Jack, who insists on his innocence regarding Amanda’s death.

As Robbie prepares for trial, flashbacks reveal the challenging relationships both he and Jack had with their fathers. Robbie recalls a dinner at Jack’s house during high school, where Jack’s father, Sherm, a hedge fund CEO, berated Jack for receiving a B+ on an AP American History exam, escalating to a confrontation.

Robbie’s reflections on his own family depict a troubled household. His mother, Evie, struggled with severe depression, and his father, Nathan, had anger issues, often resorting to physical punishment.

After college, Jack entered politics and eventually became president, while Robbie pursued law and became a renowned defense lawyer in Washington, D.C. This proves invaluable as Robbie defends Jack against overwhelming evidence, including DNA, hair, phone records, and the James Monroe knife.

Lawrence Robbins, drawing on his legal expertise, delivers authentic courtroom scenes in the novel, encompassing jury selection, witness questioning, and legal strategies, providing a rich, authentic experience of Washington, D.C.’s legal system.

The narrative hints at the story’s conclusion, promising surprises and appealing to fans of legal thrillers.

The review thanks Netgalley, Lawrence Robbins, and Atria Books for providing a copy of the book.

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