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Law and Addiction    by Mike Papantonio order for
Law and Addiction
by Mike Papantonio
Order:  USA  Can
Waterside, 2019 (2019)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Mike Papantonio, a senior partner of one of the USA's largest plaintiffs' law firms, writes thought provoking legal thrillers with depth and credibility - Law and Disorder, Law and Vengeance, and now Law and Addiction. This one takes on the opioid crisis and will make your blood boil.

The lead is a young legal crusader, Jake Rutledge. Just before his law school graduation, he's shattered by the news that his fraternal twin Blake died of a drug overdose. Blake had started using opioids to control pain - an all too common story. When Jake returns to Oakley, West Virginia, he finds the entire region in the grip of an opioid epidemic. He soon realizes that it was deliberately encouraged by the marketing practices of Big Pharma and the lawmakers in its pay.

In Oakley, now dubbed Zombieland, Jake encounters lovely Anna Fowler, former homecoming queen, for whom he fell hard in high school. Having dropped out of college when her mother was dying of cancer, she now works as an art model and looks after her ailing father. When he finds out that Anna is an opioid addict and trying to go cold turkey, Jake helps her work through it.

Knowing that he cannot hope to take on Big Pharma on his own, Jake enlists bigger guns to help make his case, one in which he (as David) is 'going up against Goliath and the fifth infantry.' He convinces Nicholas 'Deke' Deketomis, a partner at one of the country's most powerful law firms, to get involved, as well as attorney Paul Vogel, who knew his father.

Their case makes the point that 'communities with a high despair index' 'were specifically targeted to and marketed.' Of course, the bad guys fight back, and not only with strong legal teams. There are death threats, bribes, unlawful property seizures, and finally a vicious attack against Jake himself, one that changes his life forever. When it comes to the crunch, he has a tough call to make - and he makes it, for his brother's sake.

In his Author's Note, Papantonio tells us: 'In my legal career, I have been a trial lawyer in cases ranging from asbestos to tobacco litigation to litigation of harmful chemicals and products that have maimed, killed and injured far too many. That said, I can say in all certainty that the opioid catastrophe has created a class of suffering all its own.' Law and Addiction is compelling, disturbing, heartbreaking.

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