The Substitution Order: A novel (Hardcover)
Martin Clark's newest novel is a great summer read, fast moving with interesting characters and recognizable settings for those in a particular part of southwestern Virginia.
In the book attorney Kevin Moore find himself in squeezed between a shady land-deal set-up and his need to redeem himself for earlier missteps. His already lost his wife, his home, his license and everything else he'd worked for. But he's determined to get as much of that back as he can. And he's willing to use every legal (and a couple of not so legal) tricks to get there.
Clark's characters are funny and familiar without becoming cliches. He faces his complicated legal situation while battling an irrational health insurance company and an overly enthusiastic dog. While watching is wife fade from his life, he's grabbing at budding romance.
Readers will feel sorry for Kevin less from his every more complicated troubles than because he's determined not to feel sorry for himself.
You'll laugh out loud at Kevin's problems because they could so easily be our own. And with luck ours will tied up neatly in the end too.
— Doloris Vest
From Martin Clark--praised by Entertainment Weekly as "our best legal-thriller writer"--comes a wickedly clever, tenderhearted, and intricately plotted novel about a hard-luck lawyer's refusal to concede defeat, even as fate, the court system, and a gang of untouchable con artists conspire against him.
Kevin Moore, once a high-flying Virginia attorney, hits rock bottom after an inexplicably tumultuous summer leaves him disbarred and separated from his wife. Short on cash and looking for work, he lands in the middle of nowhere with a job at SUBstitution, the world's saddest sandwich shop. His closest confidants: a rambunctious rescue puppy and the twenty-year-old computer whiz manning the restaurant counter beside him. He's determined to set his life right again, but the troubles keep coming. And when a bizarre, mysterious stranger wanders into the shop armed with a threatening "invitation" to join a multimillion-dollar scam, Kevin will need every bit of his legal savvy just to stay out of prison.
A remarkable tour of the law's tricks and hidden trapdoors, The Substitution Order is both wise and ingenious, a wildly entertaining novel that will keep you guessing--and rooting for its tenacious hero--until the very last page.
About the Author
MARTIN CLARK is a retired Virginia circuit court judge, who served twenty-seven years on the bench. His novels have appeared on several best-seller lists and have been chosen as a New York Times Notable Book, a Washington Post Book World Best Book of the Year, a Bookmarks Magazine Best Book of the Year, a Boston Globe Best Book of the Year, a Book of the Month Club selection, a finalist for the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction, and the winner of the Library of Virginia's People's Choice Award in 2009 and 2016. He received the Patrick County Outstanding Community Service Award in 2016 and the Virginia State Bar's Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Award in 2018. Martin's wife, Deana, is a photographer, and they live on a farm with dogs, cats, chickens, guinea fowl, and three donkeys.
“The Substitution Order is not merely a good legal thriller; it’s a great one . . . . Clark cleverly weaves together . . . a truly thrilling ending.” —Alafair Burke, The New York Times
“The prizewinning Clark, a 59-year-old retired Virginia judge, has been compared to Carl Hiaasen and Nick Hornby. I would add ‘Better Call Saul,’ with its satisfying blend of satire and humanity. Clark’s appealingly imperfect hero, Kevin Moore, is less of a mess than Saul Goodman but just as unlucky.” —Richard Lipez, The Washington Post
"Clark, a retired judge-turned-author, has been injecting new life into the legal drama in recent years. Now he’s back with another engaging, subversive story, this time about a Virginia attorney who finds himself disbarred and down-on-his-luck. Clark spins an intricate crime story around his protagonist, one that will draw readers in deeper and deeper, but the atmospherics and surprising relationships are what really drive the story." —Dwyer Murphy, Lit Hub
“Exceptional . . . Clark does a masterly job combining Kevin’s plans to get himself out from under with a powerful portrayal of human frailty. John Grisham fans won’t want to miss this one.” — Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Deeply satisfying . . . Not nearly as well known as he should be, Clark is a retired Virginia circuit court judge [who] knows his way around the system, using the law as a foundation for novels that explore the rural South and the people who live there." —Kirkus Review
"A wickedly clever, tenderhearted, and intricately plotted novel about a hard-luck lawyer’s refusal to concede defeat, even as fate, the court system, and a gang of untouchable con artists conspire against him." —Civilian Reader
"Author Martin Clark, retired judge and master of colorful legal thrillers, is back with another page turner. Clark’s narrator is smart and observant, and the reader is in good hands throughout the quickly moving plot.” —Book City Roanoke