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No Legal Grounds [Paperback]

By James Scott Bell (Author)
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Item description for No Legal Grounds by James Scott Bell...

After finally getting his life back on track, thanks to his love of Christ, attorney Sam Trask hears from an old college dorm mate, Nicky Oberlin, who seems anxious to reconnect, but when Sam tries to back out gracefully, he soon learns that Nicky is a sociopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Original. 15,000 first printing.

Publishers Description
How far will a man go to protect his family? Attorney Sam Trask will go farther than he ever dreamed, even in his worst nightmare. Because his worst nightmare is about to come true At age forty-seven, attorney Sam Trask finally seems to have his life in order. The dark years of too much drinking and all-consuming ambition have given way to Christian faith. His marriage is strong again. Everything seems finally on the right track. Then a voice from the past comes back to say hello. Suddenly Sam faces a danger more real than he ever imagined---danger from someone who will not rest until Sam s life comes crashing down around him. Desperate, Sam seeks protection from the law he s served all his life. But when the threats are turned on his family, and the law seems powerless to protect them, Sam must consider a choice that strikes at the heart of his life and faith---whether to take the law into his own hands."

Community Description
Successful attorney Sam Trask is stunned when a voice from the past threatens to use secrets from Sam's youth to destroy him. The law offers Sam no protection, leaving him one way to save his family and the heart of his life and faith: take the law into his own hands.
Please Note, Community Descriptions and notes are submitted by our shoppers, and are not guaranteed for accuracy.

From Publishers Weekly
Bell, a former trial lawyer and Christy Award-winner (Final Witness), offers a disappointing faith suspense story that illustrates this genre's recent preoccupation with sexual violence against women. Attorney Sam Trask has his hands full with his rebellious 17-year-old daughter, Heather, the lead singer of Screech Monk. Nicky Oberlin, a shadowy figure from Sam's college past, shows up unexpectedly, and for reasons that are inexplicable until the closing pages, stalks Sam and his family. More troubles pile up: a dog is poisoned, credit cards are mysteriously maxed out, Sam's law practice suffers, a rattlesnake attacks and a child from out of wedlock is revealed (a stock plot element in Christian fiction). One of the nastiest turns in the novel involves the sociopathic Nicky's kidnapping and sexual victimization of Sam's daughter ("I may have to spank little Heather") and the suggestion that Sam must have sex with a prostitute to get his daughter back. One scene has Sam beating Nicky with the skull of Nicky's dead father. Awkward prose is scattered throughout (e.g., "the lights of the city illuminating the night sky like forbidden candy"), and Bell relies upon heavy back-to-back dialogue to move the plot along. Readers will want to skip this one. Copyright 2007 Publishers Weekly.

Citations And Professional Reviews
No Legal Grounds by James Scott Bell has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 01/15/2007 page 32

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Zondervan
Pages   339
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.42" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.93"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 4, 2007
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
ISBN  0310269024  
ISBN13  9780310269021  
UPC  025986269029  

Availability  0 units.

More About James Scott Bell

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! James Scott Bell is the #1 bestselling author of Plot & Structure, and award-winning thrillers like Final Witness, Romeo's Rules, Don't Leave Me, Blind Justice, and many more. Jim attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied writing with Raymond Carver. He graduated with honors from the University of Southern California law school, and has written over 300 articles and several books for the legal profession. He has taught novel writing at Pepperdine University and numerous conferences in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. Jim served as fiction columnist for Writer's Digest magazine and has written five craft books for Writer's Digest Books: Plot & Structure, Revision & Self-Editing, The Art of War for Writers, Conflict & Suspense and Just Write.For more visit his website:

James Scott Bell currently resides in the state of California.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Religions > Fiction > Fiction
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
3Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
4Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > Legal
5Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > Suspense
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Fiction & Poetry > Fiction
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Fiction > General
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Fiction > Mystery
9Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Fiction & Poetry > Fiction > Suspense

Christian Product Categories
Books > Fiction > General Christian > Suspense

Reviews - What do customers think about No Legal Grounds?

"No Legal Grounds"... perhaps James Scott Bell's best ever!   Mar 18, 2007
"No Legal Grounds" is a suspenseful thriller which rivals or surpasses other authors of this genre. With a plot comprised of a series of events which can only be described as nightmarish, a family is faced with the threats and terrorism of a totally-demented sociopath who will stop at nothing as he maliciously stalks his prey. And, all the while, with `no legal grounds' for law enforcement to act in their defense. With his intimate knowledge of the law and its restrictions, Mr. Bell, an attorney, brings to his writing a sense of realism. His characters are such that a reader comes to know and care about them--a vital ingredient for intensifying the suspense of a novel. And, as a devout Christian, this extraordinarily talented author creates his story without resorting to what some euphemistically refer to as `adult language' (i.e., `vulgar'); nor does he feel compelled to create scenes which, in many of today's movies would `earn' an R, or restricted, rating. Suspenseful, knowledgeable, creative, interesting, and inspiring--James Scott Bell provides his readers with all of this and more. "No Legal Grounds" is a terrific read. Highly Recommended!
--Ron Howe (aka Toby Martin II) Erskine, Minnesota.

Fantastic read!  Mar 17, 2007
James Scott Bell has penned another thriller with heart. Sam Trask, a dutiful family man and lawyer, faces the not-so-uncommon problems of a teenage daughter spiraling out of control and balancing family life with his demanding job. A random email from a forgotten college buddy signals the start of a fast-paced descent into a family nightmare he can't escape. The reader is pushed to the edge along with Sam as he considers how far he'll go to protect his family when the law is unable and unwilling. With some unforeseen twists, this story grips you to the last page. A masterful storyteller, Bell has written another story packed with suspense. His characters ring true, especially his depiction of Sam's teenage daughter's world. WARNING: Will keep you turning pages into the wee hours!
Legal Thriller Chiller  Mar 8, 2007
Get ready for more sleepless nights. James Scott Bell's No Legal Grounds is a page-turner you just can't put down. Like the screws on a torture rack, he slowly twists the plot from scene to scene until the reader and protagonist doubt there is any hope of escape. This legal thriller opens with an innocuous e-mail to LA-attorney Sam Trask. He dismisses it with a delete button. And slowly, painfully, Trask's world begins to fall apart.

This riveting thriller challenges Trask's view of right and wrong; good versus evil. He must learn to survive in a world where all the rules have changed; where the law he's sworn to uphold conflicts with the need to protect his family. Sam Trask finds himself truly standing with No Legal Grounds. Just how far will he go?

James Scott Bell's skill as a writer, coupled with experience as a trial lawyer, makes this novel a provocative, fast-paced thriller which is sure to please. I highly recommend No Legal Grounds as a must read.
Another winner of a legal thriller from James Scott Bell  Mar 6, 2007
Lawyer Sam Trask's life is finally in order. His old drinking and success-at-any-cost ways have been replaced with embracing his family and his faith. Then Nicky Oberlin, an old college classmate, shows up. His first contact with Sam is an innocent enough e-mail. No big deal. Sam deletes the message. After all, he barely remembers the guy, and distractions in his already hectic schedule are not on the agenda. But there's something about the tone of the message that makes Sam uneasy.

And rightfully so. Nicky Oberlin doesn't take "no" for an answer, and soon his behavior escalates into harassment. Sam has sworn to uphold the law and defend the innocent as an attorney. But can the law protect him and his family from someone like Nicky Oberlin? Not when no law has been broken. Which is why Sam is forced to do something he never dreamed he'd do---take the law into his own hands.

Sociopathology isn't a subject often tackled in Christian fiction. But it's a subject that has long fascinated Bell. On crafting the plot of No Legal Grounds, he says, "I began to ask myself how a good Christian family man, a respected lawyer, might react if a sociopath decides, for reasons unknown, to come after him and his family. And what if the legal system, because the sociopath is so clever, is unable to help? And if the Christian man has a vulnerable teen-age daughter who becomes the subject of the evil, what then? What would this father do?"

It's this serious subject matter that gives No Legal Grounds a somewhat darker feel than some of Bell's previous works. It resembles Presumed Guilty closest in tone, since both deal with tough subject matters. But No Legal Grounds hits closer to home. We all have people in our pasts who could hold a grudge against us like Nicky does against Sam. Any one of us could be in Sam's shoes.

James Scott Bell is an expert wordsmith, artfully placing us in the scene. We're not just observing his characters, we're INVOLVED with them. We rejoice in their triumphs, wince at their pain, and root for them to win. No more so than with Heather Trask, Sam's seventeen-year-old daughter. A struggling musician who butts heads with her father's ideals, her scenes are particularly well done as we follow her down a path we know will only lead to trouble. And Bell manages to pepper in just enough slang and mannerisms of today's teens to believably portray Heather and her crowd without sounding like he's trying too hard. Some of the court scenes and legal aspects of No Legal Grounds struggle to flow with the story, but this is only a minor distraction amidst the suspenseful plot.

Ultimately, even though the dark might be darker, the light of truth still shines, a much-loved quality always found in a Bell novel. No Legal Grounds isn't a sugar coated, feel-good piece. That's not what it's meant to be. It's an honest look at one man's struggle to protect his family and overcome society's evils. Through Sam's journey we come to understand how we can overcome ALL evil---through the light of the Truth.

--Reviewed by C.J. Darlington for TitleTrakk
A Gripping Look At A Terrifying Prospect  Mar 4, 2007
Sam Trask has enough problems with his law practice and his family. Then a figure from his past, a man he doesn't even recall, begins a systematic war against Sam and his family--a war that progresses from psychological to physical. Every time I thought that the tension couldn't be ratcheted up, Bell managed to make my pulse rate go even higher. This book is a classic example that the genre of Christian suspense fiction isn't all sweetness and light--sometimes, as in this case, it deals with the dark things that can happen, things we don't think about because the prospect frightens us too much.

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