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Joey Hartstone Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Joey Hartstone
Joey Hartstone is a television and film writer. He’s written two movies, “LBJ” and “Shock and Awe”, both of which were directed by Rob Reiner. Joey’s also been a writer for “The Good Fight” during its first two seasons and writes on “Your Honor”, a Showtime series.

Joey was born in Los Angeles, and grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona. He attended college at Brandeis, in Massachusetts. After he graduated, he moved to LA and has lived there almost his entire adult life. In 2006, he met Abby, his wife. They married a fast eleven years later, however that’s another story altogether.

During his final semester of college, he took a screenwriting class. He fell in love with writing, so he moved to LA after graduating in 2005 to pursue that dream. A short decade later, he finally became a professional writer when “LBJ”, his first movie, got made.

He was lucky since the script that established him as a writer also just so happened to be precisely the sort of story he wanted to tell. He focuses on films about politicians and historical figures. The TV shows he has worked on have centered on lawyers, which is the only other profession that he was ever interested in.

He thinks he is most proud of “The Local”. It isn’t as fancy as a film or nearly as complex as a TV show, however it is the simplest reflection of Joey himself.

James Euchre, the star of “The Local” was inspired by a good friend of Joey’s, named Nathan Speed. Nathan is an intellectual property lawyer from New England. When he told Joey that his work often took him to a tiny town in East Texas, it got Joey intrigued. Nathan explained that Marshall was the largest venue in terms of patent infringement cases, he knew that he had stumbled upon a good backdrop to tell a story.

And once Nathan explained that there are Texas trial lawyers whose specialty is joining out-of-state legal teams that serve as an interpreter of sorts between local juries and corporate clients, he knew right then that he had a character.

While he outlined the whole story before he started writing, although it is having a good plan that helps free him up to try some new things as he is actually writing. The end of the story was pretty firm the whole way through, however he did find a new setting for this ending as he wrote it.

The process of writing the novel is not all that different from screenwriting. He still researched, brainstormed, outlined, and wrote.

The biggest difference was actually in the rewriting process. He got some great direction from Rob Bloom (his editor) and Rachael Dillon Fried (his agent), however the notes weren’t nearly as demanding than they can be in screenwriting. Abby, his wife, was the most creative contributor to the work, like she always is.

However there was just a small handful of people were weighing in on the work. That is just not the case when you are producing a TV show or a movie. It felt like, for better or worse, that this novel represents him more than anything else that he has ever written.

Joey is flattered the book has been compared to the work of Scott Turow and John Grisham. Because his first love, as a screenwriter, is movies. Rather than growing up on cartoons and “Star Wars”, he was a weird kid, and liked “Presumed Innocent” and “The Firm”, and great legal thrillers and courtroom dramas that made him fall in love with storytelling.

“The Local” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2022. A freewheeling patent attorney has to take his first murder trial when this out-of-town client stands accused of murdering a federal judge.

In Marshall, an East Texas town, sits the Federal courthouse of the Eastern District of Texas, a place that’s revered by patent attorney for the court’s adherence to massive punitive payouts and speedy jury trials. Marshall is flooded with patent lawyers, each of whom land work being the local voice for the big city attorneys that need to sway small town juries. One of the very best is James Euchre.

His new client is Amir Zawar, who is a firebrand CEO that is forced to defend his life’s work against some software patent infringement. In a heated moment during the preliminary hearing, Amir threatens the judge in court. Later that same night, Judge Gardner is discovered dead, having been murdered in the parking lot of the courthouse.

All signs are pointing to Zawar, since he publicly threatened the judge, he’s got no alibi, and was staying at a house close to the courthouse. But also, he’s an outsider, the son of immigrants, a wealthy Pakistani-American businessman, and who stands accused of murdering a powerful white Federal judge in a tiny Texas town.

He claims he’s innocent, and demands Euchre defend him. It is the last thing that Euchre wants, since Gardner was his good friend and his mentor, but agrees reluctantly. With help from an ex-prosecutor (named Layla Stills) and a local PI (Lisa Morgan), James has to navigate the byzantine world of criminal defense law in a town where everybody knows everybody, and bad blood has got a long history. The more he continues digging, the more that he fears he will either be sending an innocent man to death row, or even worse, allow a murderer to go free.

Joey’s a resonant and new voice in commercial fiction, and this debut is a small town legal thriller as big in its scope as Texas. It crackles with high stakes gambits, tension, and a gangbuster of a narrative which rushes to the final and shocking verdict.

The plot is gripping, and Joey (as a veteran screenwriter) sketches each of his characters with real affection and verve. Joey delivers a courtroom thriller with a dazzling cinematic quality, and it’s an extremely promising debut novel, and readers are sure to want more his razor’s edge style.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Joey Hartstone

One Response to “Joey Hartstone”

  1. Shirley Box: 9 months ago

    I loved The Local. I am anxiously awaiting your next book.


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