Against the Wind (Signet) - J.F. Freedman “ Against the wind” is apparently a common phrase used to describe motorcycle riding. Since my sole experience on a motorcycle was riding a small one around the fields to occasionally bring in the cows, this was totally lost on me until it was explained. Sigh.

Will Alexander is a first-rate criminal defense attorney in Santa Fe who has just been kicked out of his firm for excessive drinking. He’s asked (demanded would be more like it) by four biker “outlaws” to defend them against charges of murder. These are definitely not nice people, but Will soon realizes that the facts don’t add up, and they are most likely innocent of the crime charged, if guilty of perhaps most everything else. But the political pressures to convict the four are overwhelming. Told in the first-person, you get a very nice sense of Will’s inner turmoil as he rationalizes just that additional drink.

For those who might be squeamish, I suggest skipping the scenes where Will is provided a tour of the prison by the rioters. It’s a horror. From another point of view, I didn’t think it was necessary, an attempt to rehabilitate one of the characters that could have been done more elegantly. Without giving anything away, it becomes unconvincing when first one is portrayed as evil incarnate, then less so. There are other plot lines that meandered more than I thought necessary and the alcoholism got lost on more than one occasion.

Lots of stuff going on in this book: trial scenes, prosecutorial misconduct, police misconduct, prison riots, missing witnesses, homophobia, rape, father-daughter relationships, divorced parents, lots of stuff. Sometimes it hangs better than others. Nevertheless, it will hold your interest. Not for those who spell “Fuck,” as “F..k”