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A Fool's Gold: A Story of Ancient Spanish Treasure, Two Pounds of Pot, and the Young Lawyer Almost Left Holding the Bagby Bill Merritt
Synopses & Reviews
A fantastically eccentric true crime caper that does for coastal Oregon what Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil did for Savannah.
Just a few months out of law school, Bill Merritt takes a job working for a slightly shady but charismatic lawyer named Thaddeus Silk. Only months later, Thaddeus drops dead of a heart attack, and Bill is left to pick up the pieces of his chaotic and poorly managed practice. Before he can even start to make sense of the mess that was Thaddeus's legal life, the police are knocking at his door, and Bill is being accused of fencing stolen treasure. Enter Abby Birdsong and Grady Jackson, two clients of Thaddeus's whose files are among the boxes and papers and bourbon bottles that litter his office. Drug charges had been brought against Abby for carrying two pounds of pot in her bag; and Grady seeks a permit from the state of Oregon to dig for treasure on a local beach. Bill takes on both of their cases, which, on the face of it, aren't related. When the two cases collide in ways that seem too fantastic to be true, Bill finds himself caught in the middle.
How Thaddeus and Bill, Abby and Grady, assorted law enforcement officials and colorful hangers-on overlap and interconnect took Bill another nineteen years to puzzle out. The result is an intricate and original legal yarn with a cast of provincial misfits so peculiar and charming it reads like fiction.
"The book suffers from too many cartoonish, unconvincing characters stuck in a plodding story line....Merritt's prose is affable and folksy, but his meandering story lacks grit and wit." Kirkus Reviews
Book News Annotation:
Proving yet again that life can always trump fiction in the contest for strangeness, Merritt, a former lawyer, recounts his experiences with a couple of clients embroiled in dope busts and lost Spanish gold on the Oregon coast. Merritt's capers involve four cases whose connections he did not discover for 19 years. Underlying the story is one of the longest and most tantalizing hunts for lost treasure in history. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Fresh out of law school, Bill Merritt takes a job working for a shady lawyer named Thaddeus Silk. After a few months, Thaddeus drops dead from a heart attack, and Bill is left to pick up the pieces of his chaotic and ill-managed practice. Before he can even start to make sense of Thaddeuss legal life, the police are knocking at his door, and Bill is being accused of fencing stolen treasure. Enter Abby Birdsong and Grady Jackson, two of Thaddeuss clients, whose files are among the boxes and papers and bourbon bottles that litter his office. Abby is a middle-aged, overweight, hippie ex-logger caught with some of the oldest, foulest marijuana imaginable. Grady, known around town as the Crazy Man of Neahkahnie Mountain, has paid Thaddeus to sue the state of Oregon for permission to dig holes in a state-owned beach in search of buried Spanish treasure. As legal matters heat up and Bill hears theres a warrant for his arrest just waiting for a judges signature, the cases of the skunky pot and the Spanish treasure collide in ways that seem too fantastic to be true. Merritts telling is as original, fast-moving, and full of surprises as the best legal capers, real or imagined.
Attorney Bill Merritt's boss drops dead and before long the police are knocking at his door. One of his boss's clients faces drug charges; another wants to find treasure on Oregon's shore. How the dead lawyer, his clients, assorted law enforcement officials, and colorful hangers-on overlap and interconnect took Merritt 19 years to puzzle out.
About the Author
Bill Merritt practiced law in Portland, Oregon, for more than a decade, and lives there still. Hes the author of Where the Rivers Ran Backward, about his experience in Vietnam and has published articles in regional and political magazines.
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