The cover of this book features a set of American football posts and a silhouette of legendary University of Alabama coach, Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant. Therefore anyone picking up this book may be inclined to believe that The Professor is a novel centred very much on the sport of American Football. However, this isn’t the case and author, Robert Bailey, explains in notes at the end of the book what the football connection relates to:
“In drawing the character of Tom McMurtrie, my aim was to create a legendary figure. A man of exceptional integrity, strength and class. One of the ways I sought to achieve this purpose was to include Tom on Alabama’s famed 1961 football team…this team formed the bedrock of Coach Paul ‘Bear, Bryant’s Alabama football dynasty”.
So in essence the spirit of that famous 61’ side pervades the book through the central character Tom McMurtrie, rather than being a plotline.
Whilst The Professor might not be a sports themed novel, what the reader is treated to is a great legal/crime thriller. Bailey varies his chapter sizes as the action shifts between the characters and various locations, to slow down and speed up the pace of the book. It certainly grabs the attention and like all the best books, keeps you hooked into reading page after page.
Without giving too much away, the plot centres on Tom McMurtrie a law professor at the University of Alabama who is forced into retirement. Tom is then asked to take on a case of an old friend, whose family was killed in a road accident. McMurtrie though refers the case to a former student Rick Drake. The dramatic conclusion focus on the trial and the twists and turns as a verdict is finally reached.
Overall The Professor has a dramatic style and storyline that would lend itself very well to a film or television adaptation. This book is well worth a read and many will be looking forward to the next novel featuring Tom McMurtrie and Rick Drake already.