Debut Novelist Tackles Housing Justice

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In The Tenant Lawyer, author Eric Dinnocenzo gives a compulsively readable portrait of a young legal services lawyer who combats evictions and government corruption on behalf of his impoverished clients.

Debut author Eric Dinnocenzo has published The Tenant Lawyer, a timely novel after the 2008 financial crisis, that probes issues of law and justice in the Worcester, Mass. Housing Court, where families regularly face the threat of homelessness.

Calling it “[a] notable debut that infuses an engrossing legal procedural with deep empathy,” Kirkus Reviews gave it a “star” review for “books of remarkable merit,” observing that it “ventures into John Grisham territory—a callow, idealistic lawyer battles the establishment—but with less histrionics and more social insight.”

Mark Langley is a 32-year-old legal services attorney who finds himself back in his blue-collar hometown of Worcester, Mass. after an attack of conscience while defending a sex harassment case causes him to get fired from an elite Boston law firm. Mark takes up the cause of a single mother who is being evicted from public housing because her 19-year-old son, who she never took off the lease, was arrested in a drug deal off the premises. If she loses, she will have to return to Puerto Rico with her other son, a high school senior, who will lose a college scholarship.

Simultaneously, Mark joins together with community leaders to fight against the misuse of federal funds intended for the poor by city officials. This brings him head-to-head against the power brokers at his old firm.

The Tenant Lawyer combines the legal thriller genre with character-driven fiction, showing Mark’s personal transformation as he sorts out his alienation from his hometown and struggles to save his foundering long-term relationship with his girlfriend, Sara.

A former legal services attorney, Dinnocenzo has crafted an impressive debut that gives an insider’s view of the lower rungs of the justice system. It also combines empathy, off-beat humor, and engrossing legal strategy as Mark tries to outmaneuver his more powerful adversaries and get justice for his clients.

The Tenant Lawyer is available online at and (for $16.95 and under softcover / $3.19 and under e-book).

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