Legal Thriller After the Fact, written by law professor and attorney Jeff Cooper
Author Interview + Book & Author Info + Author Pet Corner!
After the Fact a legal thriller by Jeff Cooper
When Jack Collins leaves a small Connecticut law practice to join one of the nation’s most prestigious firms, he trades a nondescript office for an elite one in a gleaming New York City skyscraper. He basks in the pride of working with people far more glamorous than those he left behind, including a famous boss, an alluring coworker, and a well-known client, Abigail Walker, the wealthy widow of a senator.
Jack thinks he’s on the path to glory, but he’s really a victim of deceit, a pawn in a game he doesn’t even know he’s playing. His new boss harbors deep secrets, his seductive coworker is not the person he thinks she is, and his new law firm is at the very center of a blackmail plot involving the widow Walker.
Blinded by the allure of wealth and power, Jack doesn’t see the danger around him. Time is running out for him to figure out the truth before he loses everything: his career, his marriage, and maybe even his life.
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The Interview with Jeff Cooper
Jack Collins, the protagonist of your debut novel After the Fact, is a lawyer. You are also a lawyer. How much does Jack Collins’ law practice look like Jeff Cooper’s law practice?
Jack and I share one commonality in that we’re both trusts & estates lawyers. Most people think of that as a relatively sleepy practice area, and very few legal thrillers have been set in that world. But, a lawyer in that area is used to dealing with lots of money, intense family squabbles, and clients confronting their mortality and considering their legacy.
Those are powerful forces that can easily lead to the kind of intrigue that underpins my novel.
After the Fact is set primarily in New York City. How does that environment impact the story?
Much of the New York portion is centered around Times Square, an area of neon lights and whirlwind activity that to me characterize the city.
It’s been 20 years since I worked in that area but I still remember the fast pace and the adrenaline rush that comes from just passing through that location. My book ties into that vibe, drawing a contrast between the protagonist’s relatively sleepy home life in Connecticut and his high-energy, high-stakes, job in New York.
What was the hardest part about writing a legal thriller and balancing how things work in the real world and the dramatic events required for fiction?
That’s a question I really thought a lot about when writing After the Fact.
I love reading the high-action legal thrillers where lawyers expose vast international conspiracies or the who single-handedly save innocent inmates from death row. But the truth is very few lawyers really do that kind of work.
What I tried to do was ground this book in a situation every lawyer faces—a client with a secret she’d do anything to protect. The challenge was to keep the stakes and action high enough in a novel with a modest body count and nobody sitting on death row.
You are a former presidential candidate, what was that experience like?
I have to admit, I was an accidental candidate. I was at dinner with a group of friends in the summer of 2016 when someone randomly suggested I run for President. Before I knew what was happening, a write-in petition was circulating the room and sent off for filing.
I didn’t think much about it until the newspapers and TV reporters started calling for interviews, asking about my platform and proposals. We ended up with a front-page headline and a feature on the local news. We also lost. Badly.
Just how good a golfer are you? (I am also a golfer. I’m excited when I don’t lose too many balls in the weeds or the river)
I’m a bogie golfer, which basically means I’m a good golfer who does one remarkably stupid thing every hole.
Elena says: This also means you are a much better golfer than I am!
What are you working on now?
So that’s a long list. I’m working on a number of academic projects, one of which is the completion of my long-unfinished PhD dissertation.
In the world of fiction, I’m writing a second legal thriller—although not nearly as quickly as my agent wants me to. Novels 3 and 4 are both partially outlined and competing with my three children for my attention.
Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers:
This may be predictable advice from a professor, but I urge people to take opportunities to learn about the craft of writing and to invest lots of time up front in outlining and character development.
When I wrote my first novel, I had a creative idea but no formal training in the art of fiction. I just started typing away, making up the story and characters as I went along. More often than not, I’d surprise myself with a plot twist and then need to go back and rework whole section of the plot to make it fit.
Since then, I’ve taken some writing classes and attended workshops, learning, among other things, how to plan and outline a novel. Boy, that sure makes it easier. I wish I had known that a few years ago!
I love a good legal thriller! Definitely putting this one on my TBR!
Author Pet Corner!
Over the years we’ve had two male tabby cats who have passed on.
Our kids have now moved through a cycle of smaller animals — countless fish and other critters.
We recently welcomed two gerbils into the mix: Graham and Oreo.
Cookie lovers will easily figure out which is which.
Jeff Cooper — Legal Thriller Author
Jeff Cooper is a law professor, lawyer, former Presidential candidate, and published author of both fiction and nonfiction. A graduate of Harvard College, Yale Law School and New York University School of Law, he spent much of his career working in the law firms and trust banks fictionalized in his novels.
His nonfiction writing has been published in Law Journals across the country, excerpted in prominent legal casebooks and treatises, and reprinted both in the U.S. and abroad. His debut novel was a finalist for The Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.
Jeff was born and raised in New York and now lives in Greenwich, Connecticut, where he has served as an elected member of the Representative Town Meeting, a Justice of the Peace and a Director of several non-profit organizations. He is married with three children. When he’s not teaching or writing, he can be found on the golf course.
To learn more about Jeff, click on his name, photo, or the following links: Twitter, Facebook & Instagram
Elena Taylor is the author of All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio book format at all your favorite bookstores and on-line retailers.
For more information on All We Buried, click on the link here to visit the home page.
Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator 2020
Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery 2020