Tooth and Nailed

Tooth and Nailed

3.61 (18 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Golf's suspension screams in protest as I execute a swift three-point turn on the rickety cobblestone at the bottom of the driveway. Patrick doesn't comment - he's given up nagging me about getting a new car - instead he digs in his jacket pocket and hauls out a sandwich big enough to feed the cast of High School Musical. 'So,' he says, peeling off the Glad Wrap, 'where we heading?' Georgie Allen - Cape Town's most down-at-heel lawyer - is back, and this time he's ...Well, actually, he's doing just fine. That is if fine can be classified as spending your evenings in front of the TV with a scruffy mongrel called Exhibit A, looking for love on and ordering takeout from Mr Delivery. But apart from that he's doing okay ...No, really. There's just the small matter of the 'favour' he's doing the Witch and her old friend 'the poet' - who may or may not have murdered one of his students. And South Africa's first gay divorce - a sticky affair involving an American millionaire by the name of Hamilton Spurlock and his decidedly straight former squeeze.
Oh, yes, and the fact that his brother is being sued for negligence for his part in the brutal mauling of a twelve-year-old boy - by a hyena in the Botswanan bush. But, apart from that, everything is just hunky-dory ...A-okay ...Tip-top ...It'd all be just that little bit better, just that much easier if someone - a short, Scottish someone - hadn't bet two tickets to the World Cup final that he could quit the fags.
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Product details

  • Paperback
  • The Penguin Group (SA) (Pty) Ltd
  • Parklands, South Africa
  • 0143026348
  • 9780143026341

Rating details

18 ratings
3.61 out of 5 stars
5 28% (5)
4 33% (6)
3 17% (3)
2 17% (3)
1 6% (1)

Our customer reviews

Tooth and Nailed is Sarah\'s second legal drama featuring Cape Town lawyer George Allen. The first is Exhibit A. If you are going to categorize Tooth and Nailed, I guess you could call it a legal drama laced with humor and some detective work some thrills. At play are three very different cases. They can be categorised as: serious; very serious, personally devastating; and seemingly routine. The details of the three cases make for a nice mix and varied tempo. I enjoyed watching George react to widely differing situations. There are twists, developments, and revelations that keep the stories moving along smartly not to mention \"I didn\'t see that coming\" moments. For readers not familiar with the South African legal system, George is an attorney. He meets with clients and handles their legal needs like contracts, divorces, etc. If the case goes to court, the attorney briefs an advocate who is an expert in arguing cases in front of a judge. George works with the short, rotund, gluttonous, annoying, snarky Scottish advocate Patrick McLennan, known as the Poison Dwarf by those who have come up against him in court. The serious case is that of poet Professor Benjamin Nyathi, a friend of Valerie Malan (AKA The Witch), an attorney and George\'s former professional and personal partner. Val wants George to help the professor who is being blackmailed over the death of a female student in his apartment in the nineties. If he doesn\'t admit murdering the young woman, a copy of a book, self-published decades earlier and all copies thought destroyed, will be made public. Nyathi denies involvement in the death but knows that his reputation will be destroyed if the the contents are revealed. The matter is too sensitive for the police but at the same time he professor won\'t reveal the subject of the book to George and Patrick and even imposes limitations on how they can communicate with him. George and Patrick are forced into the role of detectives, trying to find out what the professor isn\'t telling them, who has a motive, and establishing links. When George and Patrick finally unravel the professor\'s secret, it is unexpected and sad in the consequences Nyathi\'s earlier actions have had on others. How this ends may not be the law but it is justice. Shortly after meeting with Nyathi, Georges brother, Greg a bush guide in Botswana, shows up in Cape Town, blood staining his shirt and launching the major story within the novel. Greg is leading a family on an authentic bush experience when the young son is attacked and blinded by a night-time hyena attack. A lawsuit by the overbearing father is inevitable. Greg is no help in understanding the situation since he is in shock and so wracked with guilt that he wants to be punished. Unfortunately for George, there are devastating consequences for him as well. The location moves to Botswana when George and Patrick go with Greg to the scene of the attack to try to make sense of what happened. They hope that Greg will be more forthcoming on his own turf. Sarah handles the transition from urban Cape Town to Botswanan veldt smoothly and with humour. Patrick\'s approach to camping seems to be based on old safari movies. This section is one of my favorites in the book and resonates strongly in me. There is a tautly written event, based on something the author experienced, that made me anxious. Sarah uses the contrast between the type of expedition that Greg leads and commercialized \"let\'s not let nature too close\" tours to show her feelings about the African bush, the effects people are having on the animals, and the poseurs who are cheapening the experience. It is also a very effective setup to the denouement in the courtroom. The third case floats in and out. It is the divorce of a same-sex marriage between a wealthy American and a Capetonian man. George\'s firm is representing the American and it looks like a simple enough \"arrange a settlement and minimize the damage\" affair. George gives the case to Shane who works on interest. Shane is everything George is not: handsome, well dressed, organized, and physically fit -- he leads a dawn boot camp fitness program and fights fires.  Periodically George tries to find out how negotiations are proceeding although Shane is treating it with an annoyingly offhand attitude. The divorce case was a revelation to me because I didn\'t realize that South Africa had same-sex marriage. Wikipedia tells me that the Civil Union Bill was enacted in 2006. With my own country in turmoil over the issue, it was startling to find that a country that was severely conservative not that long ago has been able to resolve an emotionally charged issue. I haven\'t researched homosexuality in South Africa but I wonder if apartheid has sensitised courts and the legislature to inequalities based on characteristics of a segment of the population. While all of this is happening, George is trying to jump start his personal life which has stalled since his relationship with Valerie ended. This provides some of the lighter moments. The story is narrated by George in first person present tense. This style of writing is sometimes criticised because it limits the reader to the viewpoint of a single character but personally I like it. Watching events unfold through a single set of eyes makes me feel more of a participant in the story. The present tense give an immediacy to the action. I don\'t always need or desire an omniscient narrator to tell me what is happening and why. Sarah\'s characters are nicely developed and she is able to exaggerate personal attributes of the characters without slipping into caricature. I\'m thinking specifically of Patrick McLennan here. He could easily have become an object of ridicule but there is no doubt of his abilities and professionalism. He provides a lot of the humour in the book but what I came away with is that Patrick uses his appearance, stature, and personal habits to disarm people to his advantage and have a little fun. The sparring between The Poison Dwarf and The Witch is great fun. Patrick also provides the opportunity to slip in a reference to one of my favorite scenes in a Monty Python movie. No, I won\'t tell you what it is. I give Sarah extra points for inserting it. Interesting thing about the characters. I was well into the story before I realized that I didn\'t know the race of many of them. I\'ve been reading books set in apartheid South Africa and race is a constant issue and not a question so this brought me up short. Actually I tripped over my preconceptions of how race would be treated. Characters I pictured as white are black.  Remember what I wrote earlier about why I like first person narratives? If we are seeing events and people through George\'s eyes, what does this tell us about George and the reader? This was an unexpected but appreciated challenge to me as a reader. Well done Sarah. I wouldn\'t characterize Tooth and Nailed as a humourous but it made me smile, if not laugh ... often. Sarah has a wicked sense of humour and a keene knack for dialog. She describes an outfit Patrick is wearing as \"...a shade of green I haven\'t seen since ABBA was topping the charts.\" George notes in another scene that \"Patrick and I stand out like Eugène Terre\'Blanche at an ANC Youth League rally.\" An American equivalent of the latter might be along the lines of \"...stand out like the Klan at an NAACP convention.\" Tooth and Nailed is a thoroughly satisfying read. Besides the fun of reading a well plotted novel with interesting characters, parts of the novel hit at an emotional level that I continue to think about long after I finished. I look forward to reading more by this more
by Mack Lundy
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