What made this review different from so many others that I've received is that he intentionally makes no mention of the dramatic trial scenes in the book, or the surprises in the plot. He talks mainly of the characters, and the conflicts, particularly internal, that they are caught up in.
Now I think my book contains a pretty gripping murder trial, and the plot packs a few good twists and turns. And, obviously, when I'm called on to promote it this is what the focus is primarily on. But, the truth is, when I wrote this book all that mattered to me were my characters, especially the protagonist Robert Bratt. Of course, things happened to them; the kind of things that happen in all our lives, as well as things that would only happen to defense attorneys, some in the beginning of their careers, others at the end of their tether. But what I cared most about was how they dealt with these highs and lows in their lives, their joy at success, their fear of failure. Because these characters were real to me, so their feelings were real, and I wanted to make them real to the readers as well.
I knew I had succeeded, at least for one reader, when I read the following from Mr. Smy's review:
"If you’re looking for a Perry Mason or other similar fictional lawyer, then you’ll be disappointed. There’s a disturbing ring of honesty about the portrayed lawyers’ defects. You’ll find those you can happily despise, but you’ll also be confused by those who exhibit more humanity than you would expect. They are complex people. They have lives. You could, with little effort, imagine how they live their lives away from the spotlight of the story."
In the constant debate about whether plot or character is more important, I must simply say that the most exciting plot would never hold my attention if I didn't care or believe in the characters involved. Certainly, everybody enjoys a clever plot, but when a reader says, as Mr. Smy does, "I genuinely regretted the book ending," I know this is because the characters mattered, and it is they that the reader will miss. And it's at that point that I can truly feel a sense of accomplishment.