A Fool's Gold Twenty-five years ago, Bill Merritt, an enterprising attorney just out of law school, took a job with a genteel but shady Portland, Ore., lawyer who… A Fool's Gold Twenty-five years ago, Bill Merritt, an enterprising attorney just out of law school, took a job with a genteel but shady Portland, Ore., lawyer who… 2006-01-24 Nonfiction Bloomsbury
Book Review

A Fool's Gold (2006)

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: Jan 24, 2006; Writer: Bill Merritt; Genre: Nonfiction; Publisher: Bloomsbury

Twenty-five years ago, Bill Merritt, an enterprising attorney just out of law school, took a job with a genteel but shady Portland, Ore., lawyer who shortly afterward expired next to his desk. The hapless young litigator had to juggle a decades-old caseload while dealing with law enforcement officials who suspected his late boss was involved in unsavory activities. In a loping, soft-boiled style, Bill Merritt populates A Fool's Gold with a memorable rogues' gallery of misfits (e.g., Grady Jackson, ''the Crazy Man of Neahkahnie Mountain,'' who's convinced that riches lie under a state-owned beach). Merritt's characters and plot twists sometimes stretch the seams of believability — ''This book isn't journalism,'' he winks in the author's note — but his comic caper reads like Carl Hiaasen gone Northwest.

Originally posted Jan 27, 2006 Published in issue #861 Feb 03, 2006 Order article reprints