'Losing Faith'

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Attorney's latest novel to hit bookstores on April 14

By Kurt Anthony Krug
Legal News

Author Adam Mitzner has no desire to leave the law profession to write full time.

“I truly enjoy doing both,” said Mitzner, 50, a partner at Pavia & Harcourt in New York City, where he lives with his wife and four children. “I have no immediate plans to do that. While I’m able to do both, I want to continue doing both,”

An alumnus of Brandeis University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Mitzner has been a practicing attorney since 1989.

Mitzner’s latest legal thriller “Losing Faith” (Gallery Books $26) – his third novel – debuts Tuesday, April 14. The plot centers around Aaron Littman, who has it all: He’s chairman of one of the world’s most prestigious and powerful law firms, has a beautiful wife named Cynthia who’s a doctor, and adoring twin daughters.

“The books start less with the story and more with the character. It’s about someone who reached the pinnacle of success and how fleeting it can be and how hard it is to maintain and the risks he’s willing to take (to keep it),” explained Mitzner.

Several years ago, Aaron had a brief love affair with Judge Faith Nichols, while she presided over the case he was trying. Nicolai Garkov, a Russian businessman charged with bankrolling a terrorist bombing, learns about Aaron’s affair with Faith, who’s presiding over his case. Garkov blackmails Aaron into serving as his lawyer in the hopes he will influence Faith’s ruling in his favor. If not, Garkov will make their affair public knowledge, which will be the end of both their careers. Inevitably, it comes out when Faith is found murdered and Aaron’s the prime suspect. Aaron’s friend and mentor, Sam Rosenthal, defends him in a very public trial.

“One of the themes… is the lengths people will go to protect the people they love. When you love someone, you love them in spite of their flaws and bad acts, but there’s a limit to that. To me, that’s the theme of the book,” said Mitzner. “These are people who truly love each other. Like Rachel (a partner in the law firm who’s in love with Aaron, her mentor) and Aaron. Like Aaron and his wife. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to protect each other. As lawyers, it’s interesting because they adhere to a certain code in their professional life. But would you adhere to the same code if it was a personal issue?”

The relationship Mitzner enjoyed writing the most in this book was Sam and Aaron. He explored their father/son, mentor/protégé dynamic because it’s one thing to say that someone treats you like a son and another thing to actually treat you like a son.

One thing that Mitzner doesn’t go into is how Garkov learned about the affair, begging the question: How did he find out? Mitzner has an explanation for that.

“One of the rules is if it’s not in the book, I don’t tell people what I think because I feel like it’s cheating. My view of it is: If it’s not in the book, a reader’s interpretation is as valid as mine. In this case, it’s deliberately not stated. I have my idea about it, but I didn’t state it because I want readers to think Garkov can find anything out,” explained Mitzner.

According to Mitzner, the most difficult part when writing “Losing Faith” was how he wanted to end it. In his first two legal thrillers – “A Conflict of Interest” and “A Case of Redemption” – he didn’t give his protagonists clean endings; both their stories ended on ambiguous notes. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to repeat that with Aaron or actually give him some form of closure.

For his upcoming, as-yet-untitled novel, Mitzner didn’t want to follow that structure. In fact, the protagonist Jonathan Caine is a New York investment banker instead of a lawyer, a first for Mitzner.

“Pretty much all three (novels) have extended trial sequences at the end. On the one hand, those are the most fun to write. It’s the best writing I do because it’s a world I know really well and readers really like. For me, personally, I wanted to work on something without that kind of structure. It was a little bit different.”

Anthony Franze, a law professor at the Michigan State University College of Law, praised Mitzner’s work as did Dennis Rymarz, of South Lyon.

“Mitzner does lawyers-turned-writers proud with his intelligent stories that both turn the pages and make you think,” said Franze, author of “The Last Justice.” “His upcoming ‘Losing Faith’ already has great buzz.”

Added Rymarz: “I received (‘Conflict’) as a gift and while it may sound cliché, I had a difficult time putting it down. The writing is excellent, and I enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed getting to know the characters. In fact, I even felt compelled to send him an e-mail, to which he graciously replied. As an aspiring author, I continually feel inspired and motivated after reading Mitzner’s work.”

In turn, Mitzner enjoys hearing from fans; for him, it’s one of the two best parts about writing.

“There’s nothing like when readers e-mail you and say they liked your book and how it touched them in some way, even made them think about someone they care about. An unbelievable byproduct of your job is that you can actually change the way people look at something,” he marveled.
 

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