Thursday , February 22 2024
A terrorist trial raises questions about the conflict between patriotism and the legal rights of the individual.

Book Review: ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ by Paul Batista

The dictionary definition of “rendition” gives two meanings, first being a performance or interpretation — especially of a dramatic role or piece of music — and the second being  the practice of sending a foreign criminal or terrorist suspect covertly to be interrogated in a country with less rigorous regulations for the humane treatment of prisoners.

Extraordinary Rendition features a fictional plot following the trial of suspected terrorist Ali Hussein through his depressive state to his interaction with  lawyer Byron Carlos Johnson, a highly publicized trial with twists and turns and a less dramatic end of the novel. In an inexplicable turn of events Mr. Johnson finds his lifetime reputation as a lawyer unraveled, his patriotism doubted and loads of detectives and shady characters showing up at critical points in the plot.

To add a pseudo romantic angle, we have a suspicious lady planted into Mr.Johnson’s personal life whose loyalties are doubted from the start. The rest of the plot has other characters such as journalists, powerful attorneys, intelligence officials and detectives to add to the melodrama and intensity.

One of the interesting facets of the book is the interaction and legal jousting between Mr. Johnson, for the defendant, and the public prosecutor Mr. Rana. One maybe immediately reminded of TV dramas such as Boston Legal, The Practice, Suits, The Good Wife. The fictional trial seems quite realistic until near the climax of the trial. One may still be left doubting and left guessing on pros and cons of patriotism versus legal rights of an individual and how a real-life judge might give judgement in a similar case .

While the other characters in the plot are deeply sketched, it would have been a more pleasant and realistic read if we had less reference to origins of the characters or trying to justify the oncoming plot change. Related to the one of the characters being mentioned as a Sikh, the absence of title Singh in the surname could be quickly discerned by south Asian readers.

To summarize, this book is readable, portraying the concern that a law-abiding citizen might undergo at the mechanism of law&order and interaction with their surrounding organizations and constitutional instruments.

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About the Author

About Ganadeva Bandyopadhyay

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