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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Uncivil Liberties is a legal mystery/thriller novel written by Bernie Lambek. A man found her body while walking his dog in Mahady Park, a thousand-acre wilderness park neighboring Vermont’s capital, Montpelier. She was young, and her body twisted as if it had fallen from the ledge above them. He rushed off to call the cops who arrived quickly on the scene. Sergeant LaPorte, sadly, knew exactly who the victim was. He knew her and her mother, Deputy State’s Attorney Francine Loughlin, as did every other responder. How had this happened? No one had ever fallen or decided to take their life at this spot. The scrap of paper LaPorte found in Kerry’s handbag pointed to the tragic fact that Kerry had indeed chosen to end her life. Kerry had shown no indication of depression as she was growing up, but there was some evidence that bullying might have prompted her to take her own life.
Bernie Lambek’s Uncivil Liberties is a taut and compelling story about First Amendment rights and the impact they have on people’s everyday lives. The author’s experience as a practicing attorney for the last 25 years in Montpelier gives the reader first-hand insights into the challenges and pitfalls facing attorneys leading up to and during a trial. The issues of separation of church and state and the rights of the religious to openly condemn same sex couples play major roles as Sam Jacobson, a New York-born and New Haven-bred attorney turned Vermonter, and his law partner, Alicia Santana, represent clients often at odds with their own beliefs. The trial scenes are exciting and real; the characters intense and finely developed; and the story is moving and unforgettable. I closed the book feeling I had learned so much about Vermont and Vermonters as well as realizing more of the complexity of the First Amendment. Uncivil Liberties is most highly recommended.