A former assistant crown attorney for Wellington County has gone from courtrooms to bookshelves with the release of his first novel.
“There’s many chapters to your life and you want to explore all of them,” said Steve Hamilton, the author of A Scandal of the Particular.
“You know some people (after working a long time), they either go back to what they knew, or don’t do anything new, and I wanted to do something new.”
Released in July, the story follows a lawyer named Hyman Kazan and the events that follow after the body of a Scottish man is found outside of a safe injection site in downtown Vancouver.
The fictional mystery/thriller focuses on lawyers, judges, safe injection sites and relationships while exploring the paradoxical nature of justice and the benefits of suffering. Since it’s release, the book has received positive reviews from Canadian and American readers.
“A lot of people have their own interpretations, which is important,” said Hamilton.
With over 25 years of experience practicing criminal law in Guelph, Wellington County and Waterloo Region, Hamilton said he has covered everything from murder to sexual assault.
His first case in Guelph was the Ed Dakin double murder case, which he worked on beside former Crown attorney Owen Haw.
Having gone to school with Dakin, Hamilton said the experience opened his eyes.
“It was my introduction to the dark side of Guelph,” he said.
In a fictional setting, Hamilton said he wanted to explore the challenges lawyers face during trial compared to other books written on the topic.
“There’s very little that is written about the challenges and obstacles lawyers face within the trial,” said Hamilton, adding trial lawyers are familiar with the phrase voir dire or a 'trial within a trial.'
He adds these situations can also have a ripple effect on victims, families and the accused, and the book also tries to answer how life goes on after a trial.
“Convictions, whether they’re criminal, or they’re personal, always have a consequence, they affect people in different ways. With victims, you often speak to them as a lawyer, and they ask ‘Why go on? Why does this matter?’”
In his book, Hamilton acknowledges many local lawyers whose experiences, and how they deal with them, have helped shape the story.
“There are a lot of lawyers who are no longer with us for a number of different reasons,” he said, citing illness and suicide.
Written in a non-linear format, Hamilton said he hopes readers will judge the characters themselves and each take something different away from the story.
“Hopefully it’s reflective and people stop and think, ‘Oh, is it this time? Or this time?’ and stop and have a discussion.”
A Scandal of the Particular is available online and in stores. Locally, the book can be purchased at The Bookshelf.
For more information on Hamilton, go to stevehamiltonbooks.com.