Michael Cordell’s ‘Contempt’ Asks Us if Good Truly Triumphs Over Evil [REVIEW]

Prison cell
Playing by the rules is what got him in trouble to begin with. (Photo courtesy Canva)

He believed a man should be honest no matter the cost. He believed it is important to trust one’s conscience. He believed truth would prevail. He was wrong. When life turns an innocent man into a convicted felon, how will he react when given a second lease on life? Find out in Michael Cordell’s riveting legal thriller, Contempt.

Michael Cordell's CONTEMPT

Attorney Thane Banning is honest to a fault. He’s one of those rare lawyers who still believes in the justice system and in the importance of following your true north. That’s what pits him against District Attorney Bradford Stone in the first place, and lands him in prison for five long years paying for a crime he didn’t commit.

When Thane is released on a technicality, one of his friends from prison, Scotty “Skunk” Burns, asks him to represent him because he was also wrongly convicted. Although Thane isn’t a criminal lawyer, memories of his own injustice make him want to seek an acquittal for Burns so he doesn’t have to suffer like he did.

Going against the advice of his wife, family, and friends, Thane once again does what he knows to be right. But at what cost to himself? Despite his desire to right past wrongs, he soon realizes that the deck is stacked against him. Will determination—and an arsenal of new tricks he learned in prison—be enough to win the case? Find out in Contempt!

This is the first novel I’ve read by Michael Cordell, but it definitely won’t be the last! I was immediately drawn to Banning’s character from the moment he first steps onto the page. His fortitude and tenacity to fight for the underdog is captivating and by the end of the novel Cordell makes us want to stand up and cheer. Sure, Thane is flawed, but he is also altruistic in his belief that good will triumph over evil. But rather than coming across as misguided, he makes us and those around him want to become better versions of themselves, a trait we could all benefit from these days!

My sincere hope is that we will see Contempt turned into a big screen blockbuster, because from the first word until the last, Cordell captivates us with insightful imagery, vital characters, and delightful scenes that play out beautifully in the reader’s mind. If you love films like The Firm and A Few Good Men, this thriller is right up your alley!

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Michael Cordell


Michael Cordell is a novelist, playwright, and produced screenwriter. He has sold three screenplays to Hollywood, including Beeper, an action-thriller starring Harvey Keitel and Joey Lauren Adams.

His transition to writing novels is the result of a strong interest in expanding the depth and scale of his stories, something that was difficult to do within the confines of a screenplay.

Michael currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he has taught screenwriting for over 15 years.

To find out more, visit his home on the Web at MichaelJCordell.com, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

By Michael Cordell
213 pp. TCK Publishing. $14.99

Purchase Contempt direct from Jathan & Heather’s Beach Reads Book Shop or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, IndieBound, or Powell’s.

About Heather Fink
Heather Fink is a writer, bibliophile and award-winning librarian who loves to introduce the next generation of readers to the wonderful world of books. She currently resides in Texas.

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