Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Consumer Critique: The Washington Lawyer

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

Author Allan Topol’s recently wrote a very engaging thriller, THE WASHINGTON LAWYER. In the high-stakes world of Washington politics, hotshot lawyer Andrew Martin is being put to the test. When long-time friend Senator William Jasper calls, it’s with explosive news—and a favor to ask. A sex tryst at Martin’s beach house in Anguilla has gone awry and former model Vanessa Boyd is dead. Just how far will Martin go to protect the chief justice nomination on which he’s built his entire career?

Topol, himself is a well-established partner at one of DC’s top law firms and author of 11 thrillers. THE WASHINGTON LAWYER is a penetrating glimpse into Capitol Hill’s seedy underbelly. Topol impresses again with this latest escapade into the intricate underpinnings of Washington’s influential power layers, drawing the reader into a new of questionable morals, deadly intrigues and treachery from which this is no escape.

There were certainly a lot of twists in this book that I didn't expect, and several issues and points of tension that converged into a single point. It was hard to put down - in fact, I read the whole thing straight through in an evening. It's great for anyone who likes crime thrillers. I had a chance to interview Allan Topol to learn more.

What was the inspiration behind this book?
The Washington Lawyer is my eleventh novel.  All of the prior ones dealt with international geopolitical issues and my last four had the same action character, Craig Page, a former CIA agent.  I decided to take a one book break from Craig Page, who will be back next year in the Italian Divide. I wanted to write a novel about Washington, D.C., where I have worked as a lawyer for many years.  I didn’t want it to be a courtroom drama because that’s too much like my own life.  Instead, my inspiration was all of the scandals, many of them involving sexual activities, which have happened over the years that I have been in Washington.  Further inspiration came from my observation of the behavior of powerful individuals in Washington and what they will do to attain even more power.  Thus, I wanted to paint a picture for the reader of how our capital city functions at its highest level and how the players interact as well as what they do with their own lives.
How would you describe your own writing style?
In writing novels, I am constantly striving to make my books entertaining page turners.  I want to keep the reader up at night turning pages in order to find out what happens next.  I am also interested in providing some serious content to readers about an issue in the world or in politics.  In the case of the Washington Lawyer, I want to inform about the operation of the real Washington.  I also want to inform about Chinese spying in Washington.  To a considerable extent, the Chinese have replaced Russia as our top adversary, and Chinese intelligence agencies have replaced the KGB.  I would describe my writing style as fast-moving.  The reader will not get bogged down in long paragraphs of description.  Instead, the reader will be focused on the story and the characters who make it come alive.
What type of readers will enjoy this book?
The Washington Lawyer, like my other novels, is aimed at a very broad audience.  I am interested in appealing to and reaching men, women, ethnic minorities, and people of all ages. I do not want to write one of those “guy books” with shooting on every page.  Instead, I am striving to create real characters, both male and female.  Relationships are important to me and to my writing.  For example, in the Washington Lawyer a critical relationship is the one between the twin sisters, Allison and Vanessa.  In writing this, I drew heavily upon relationships I observed among my three daughters.  The relationship between Andrew Martin, the protagonist, who faces a moral dilemma in the novel, and his wife Francis is also key. 

In addition to his fiction writing, Allan Topol co-authored a two-volume legal treatise entitled SUPERFUND LAW AND PROCEDURE. A graduate of Yale Law School, he is a partner in a major Washington law firm, and an avid wine collector, he has traveled extensively, researching dramatic locations for his novels. He wrote a weekly column for and has published articles in numerous periodicals including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Yale Law Journal. He also has blogged for Huffington Post.     For more information, visit

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