Winery Peak – Review of 1st Novel by Chris Scott Graham

Dechert LLP litigation partner Chris Scott Graham recently released his first full-length novel.  It’s not easy as a partner to find time for hobbies, but Chris has evidently not only found the time, but found a real natural talent as well.

The story surrounds Winery Peak, a fictitious winery in Napa that unfortunately finds several of its migrant workers taking sick from toxins found in a nearby creek.  What happens from there is a story of intrigue, as the corporate parent of Winery Peak tries to pin the blame on a fall guy, Peter Dickinson who is a world-renown wine maker and head of winery.  Junior associate Richard Magnus takes the case of Peter to protect both his honor and his liberties without his client really understanding that he’s never taken a case to trial before.  And behind all of this is a shadowy corporate parent organization that pulls at the strings of all the different characters.

I really liked the novel and found the courtroom aspects really interesting.  I learned some things about litigation that I’ve never known, but you don’t need to be a lawyer to appreciate it.  It’s just a good ole fashioned mystery.

Frankly, I was somewhat surprised of the quality of the novel, not anything against Chris, but I know that he is an extremely busy attorney.  This isn’t a case of a guy having a slow practice and having a lot of time on his hands.  On the contrary, one of my  favorite litigation experiences of all time (if there can be such a thing) was a case where not only did Chris get us out of the case under summary judgment, but got the court to award 100% of our legal fees.  It was a really complicated case, too. 

Congratulations Chris on a fine first outing.  I’d encourage folks to buy the novel and support this burgeoning artist.