Dismissed With Prejudice by Fletcher Cockrell
Publication Date: August 2009
Publisher: Publish America
Format: Paperback, 336 pp
(Received for review from Phenix & Phenix Publicity)
Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):
Dismissed with Prejudice is a legal drama that deals with the dark side of a powerful university, major college sports and state government. At the urging of a wealthy businessman and booster with mafia ties, an assistant coach is fired under false pretenses. Landon Duhon, a small town lawyer, reads about it in the paper and becomes suspicious. It's the third assistant in the last seven years fired by the same multi-million-dollar head coach, a schmoozer and philanderer. Duhon sends his colleague to investigate and slowly uncovers layer upon layer of fraud, corruption and backroom deals. The assistant's career is over regardless of the outcome, but he decides to sue for wrongful termination, setting in motion a legal battle that escalates into threats, violence and murder. The novel is a classic "little guy goes against the system" story with insight into the bureaucracy, legal environment, and corrupting influence of money in the university and political arena.
This was an interesting book. The subject of corruption within a big name university sounded like something I wanted to read. Since we have a huge university just down the road with a huge sports program (University of Kentucky/Wildcat Basketball). Fletcher Cockrell has taken this theme to the limit with this book. Not only does big money play a part but even mafia ties within the system. I liked how the author was able to show how the things that happen behind the scenes are what fuels the games on the court. It's about way more than bragging rights with big time sports programs.
Lawyer, Landon Duhon see's a pattern. When he reads about an assistant coach, Chris Frazier who has been fired, he starts to put the pieces together. This same head-coach, Coach Tom Boyd has fired three other assistants in the last several years. Is he just hard to get along with or is there a lot more to it? He sends in an investigator to get the low-down on what's really going on. He has no idea that he will spark a lawsuit that will end up leading to murder. The assistant agrees to testify even though he knows his career is over and in doing so, he makes the powers that be, shake in their boots.
The characters in this one are definitely sleazy and easy to dislike. Tom Boyd is so full of himself that it's easy to see how he would fire someone just keep the NCAA from picking up on the little problems within the organization. It was amazing to me how the author was able to tie in the mafia and the state government as players in this game of corruption. This is a great read for people who are fans of university sports and readers who love a good thriller. Legal drama's are not usually my favorites, but this one really held my interest and I wanted to see justice done. I have always thought that money can make people do some crazy things, but I don't think we really realize how far some people will let it go.
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I'm giving this one 3 out of 5 apples. It was a good book, but not really my cup of tea. That's not to say that others won't find it a great thriller. I was interested just not blown away.
Fletcher F. Cockrell, is a trial attorney practicing in Houston, Texas where he has successfully litigated numerous cases to jury verdicts. Mr. Cockrell was a collegiate basketball coach for 15 years prior to receiving his jurisprudence doctorate from Michigan State University College of Law. He also represents professional athletes in contract negotiations. He is currently residing in Woodlands, Texas.