If John Grishams’ legal thrillers are your cup of tea, then Martin Clark, the next Friends of Hackney Library Fall 2012 Dinner/Lecture speaker, will provide even heartier fare with his sometimes humorous, sometimes white-knuckled, always satisfying courtroom dramas.
Called “the thinking man’s John Grisham but, maybe better, the drinking man’s John Grisham” by the New York Times Magazine, Clark is the author of three acclaimed novels as well as a sitting circuit court judge for the Virginia counties of Patrick and Henry and the city of Martinsville, Virginia.
Clark will address the gathering as the featured speaker on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 in Hardy Alumni Hall. A book signing and wine reception will begin at 6:00 pm, followed by dinner and the program at 7:00 pm.
A cum laude Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Davidson College and a 1984 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, lawyer-turned-judge Clark endured eighteen years of rejection letters until the publication of his first novel, The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living, which he began writing as a Davidson undergraduate. When published in 2000, Many Aspects became a New York Times Notable Book for that year, as well as a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, a finalist for the Stephen Crane First Fiction Award; it also appeared on several best-seller lists. The screenplay for Many Aspects is being written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Jerry Mitchell and his writing partner Mike Roden.
Martin’s second novel, Plain Heathen Mischief (2004), received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, was chosen as a selection of the Quality Paperback Book Club and, prior to release, appeared on both Amazon’s and Barnes and Noble’s Top 100. Mischief was also nominated for several 2004 literary awards.
In 2008, The Legal Limit followed as Martin’s third highly-acclaimed title. Based on a real case tried in his court in Stuart, Virginia, Legal Limit was selected by NPR as one of its “Summer Reads” and was featured and excerpted in the July 2008 edition of Reader’s Digest. It also received the 2009 Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award for Fiction and was designated both a Washington Post Book World and Bookmarks Magazine Book of the Year.
Reviewers have called The Legal Limit “the new standard by which other works of legal fiction should be judged” and “the best courtroom story ever.” The New York Times Book Review called it “a novel of ample graces.” The Washington Post dubbed it “[C]ompelling … Clark has struck a fine balance between down-home ambiance and high-octane plot. Skillfully weaving a plot that includes lie detectors, wiretaps and arcane legal principles, the author creates a world in which family ties can easily turn into nooses.” Rights to the novel have been sold to Bela Bajara at CBS/Paramount for development as a miniseries.
According to a July 16, 2008 interview in the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger and re-posted on his web site, Clark describes his writing style in this way: “I like to write books that have trap doors, high banks, a lot of velocity, twists and turns, bit plots….I like books that have a beginning, middle and end, and maybe a little payoff as you go, then a big payoff at the end,” he explains. “So much of what you read today, especially short stories, is a writer taking 15 pages describing the stepping stones going up to his aunt’s house. The story just stops dead.” As the many positive reviews of his work attest, Clark has successfully avoided committing that literary crime in his own fiction.
Martin Clark lives in Stuart, Virginia, with his wife Deana.
Please join us for what is sure to be a thrilling event. For more information, visit our web site.
This event is sponsored in part by BB&T.