Almost Damned: A Legal Thriller
by Christopher Leibig

"The case was scary not because of the crime, but because, based on the evidence, Igor could actually be innocent."

After a series of court successes in Virginia, criminal defense attorney Sam Young discovers a mysterious pattern among his cases. His unsavory clients call him by the same nickname and talk about an "opportune time." Are they conspiring against him? Or are these similarities clues to pleas for help only Sam can offer? As he and his team prepare for an upcoming murder trial, Sam simultaneously prepares for a class action suit, heard by an immortal Council, that will put the assembly of cases in perspective.

The first half of the book establishes Sam's indispensable role through the nonstop work he tackles with a sort of sixth sense. He rushes half-drunk to meetings with colorful characters around the city and researches at odd hours. Repeating a mantra to himself, "Stop Time. Observe," he can see into others' minds, discerning his next move. But his own intentions and reasoning often elude him. He declares that he doesn't know why he does things and rolls with the consequences of whatever actions he takes. His co-workers follow his unorthodox lead, trusting Sam's expertise and big-heartedness. Sam's impulsive and extroverted personality infuses the writing with breathless pacing, each page driving headlong with suspenseful unpredictability.

After the frenetic first half, the second portion of the book, set in a mythical mountain top court, dives down deep. It explores immortality and good versus evil in the context of juridical biblical narratives. Archangel judges, such as Gabriel, Samael, and Michael, lend the text a gravity as well as a levity with their wily and theological rhetoric. Connections spanning human and divine, time and space, and explored through larger-than-life characters and their robust conversations invite readers into an epic tale of justice on a cosmic scale.

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