Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio – Book Review

Is there anything better than curling up on the couch with a good book? YES. Curling up on a couch with a good book AND the sweetest fur baby ever, snuggling by your side! This, my friends, is the definition of pure bliss. I digress… Let’s talk Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio!


One week before Jake Rutledge is scheduled to graduate from law school, he receives the devastating news of the death of his fraternal twin, Blake. What makes this death even more terrible for Jake is that his brother died of a drug overdose. Until hearing of his death, Jake had no idea his brother was even using drugs.

When Jake returns home to Oakley, West Virginia, he takes a hard look at the circumstances of his brother’s death. In the five years Jake has been away for his schooling, his hometown has drastically changed. Because of the opioid epidemic, and the blight it has brought, many now call Oakley Zombieland. Jake can see how his town’s demise parallels his brother’s.

Undeterred, the newly minted lawyer takes on the entrenched powers by filing two lawsuits. Jake quickly learns what happens when you upset a hornet’s nest. The young attorney might be wet behind the ears, but is sure there is no lawyer that could help him more than Nick Deke Deketomis and his law firm of Bergman/Deketomis. Deke is a legendary lawyer. When he was Jake’s age he was making his name fighting Big Tobacco. Against all odds, Jake gets Nick and his firm to sign on to his case before it’s too late.

My thoughts

Personally, I believe the opioid epidemic has not received the public attention that it deserves. A few stats: 21-29% of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them, 8-12% develop an opioid use disorder, about 80% of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids, and Opioid overdoses increased by 30% between 2016 and 2017 (credit: DrugAbuse.gov). While the deaths of Prince, rapper Mac Miller, and HQ Trivia co-founder Colin Kroll brought attention to the crisis temporarily, but once initial shock wears off and the dust settles, people default back to blissful ignorance. The family members of the victims aren’t so lucky.

Enter Jake Rutledge, who receives the devastating news that his twin brother died of a drug overdose. As a recently graduate from law school, Jake decides to take action by suing the drug companies alongside Nick “Deke” Deketomis. As it turns out, challenging these high powered corporations is much more dangerous that you would have thought. I have a special place in my heart for books where you can see exactly where the author found their inspiration. As a reader, it just makes the whole story feel more authentic. Papantonio’s background in law did just that as he created a story that had me wanting to channel my inner Elle Woods and go to law school (what, like it’s hard?!)

While promoted as a legal thriller, I’m not sure that would be the best descriptor – maybe legal fiction with a touch of suspense? Or maybe procedural? Also, I was struck by how emotional this book made me feel. It did a great job demonstrating the horrific opioid epidemic as well as creating empathy for the individuals struggling with and/or trying to overcome an addiction.

Overall this was a well-researched, timely release about a young lawyer’s fight against an epidemic that has taken the U.S. by storm. Thank you so much to FSB associates for providing me with a copy! As always, all thoughts are my own!

Get your hands on a copy: Amazon


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