I’m surprised sometimes by what books show up on my doorstep. When a bubble pack envelope shows up, I usually know how I got on this publisher’s list, or I had requested a title from that publicist.

Nibble and Kuhn by David Schmahmann, though, was a mystery. The Academy Chicago Publishers? Never heard of them. Never heard of Schmahmann or his book, either.

But as I cleaned out my “to be considered” stacks to donate to the Haddonfield Public Library Book Sale, the cover caught my eye — the blurry background with the hazed out light pricks at the bottom. What the hell. I’ll give it a go. If I didn’t like it, I could always throw it in the donate pile.

But I liked it! It’s a tidy, not terribly taxing novel without a lot of twists and turns. It’s a story about Derek Dover, a disillusioned Boston lawyer and two things: the girl he can’t have, and the impossible case that is dropped into his lap.

The book is also about a law firm that is trying to be bigger than its britches at exactly the wrong time. It’s very now — recession and real estate collapse included. Like Kermit Roosevelt’s In the Shadow of the Law, which is more legal thriller than Nibble & Kuhn, it reaffirmed that I made the right call in not going to law school. I think the tedium would have gotten to me, and it’s not longer one of those careers where it seems that you’re guaranteed a high paying job at the end of the line.

Nibble & Kuhn is not a legal thriller, and it’s not a romance. It’s a short, fast novel good for hot summer nights when I was cooped up in front of the window AC unit.

Now, about the blog: It’s back, sorta. I’m not doing another book a week series — it was too taxing when my work life busied up. But when I read a book I enjoy, like Nibble & Kuhn, I’ll post a review. Why not? Maybe you’ll like it, too.

P.S. It’s been years since I read Roosevelt’s debut novel, but I still remember the detail about a lawyer analyzing cashmere socks. It’s funny what images still stick.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.


  1. Anonymous on October 24, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Yup. I gave this one 3 stars too, which is not bad. It arrived on my doorstep[ but I knew where it came from as I'd agreed to review it!
    Great book for those already in corporate law, I felt.

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