Jason Schutte, an attorney and partner at the Springfield law firm of Koepke, Hiltabrand & Schutte, has published his first novel, although perhaps not his last. “A Zealous Defense” is a fictional legal thriller set in Quincy, Illinois, an area quite familiar to Schutte.

“I grew up on a farm there and started practicing law in that area,” he said. “A couple of years ago when I was back helping my dad work on his farm, I was sitting on a tractor with a legal pad and started writing the beginnings of what became this book.”

“I’ve published several articles on law issues relevant to my practice. I also listen to a lot of audio books when I travel for work, including legal fiction thrillers,” Schutte says, citing works by John Grisham and Michael Connelly as some of his favorites. “I thought it would be interesting to try writing my own novel.”

After two years of working on his book during nights and weekends, it was published in December 2018 and is available in print and kindle format through Amazon. Schutte described the book by saying, “The people who have read it told me that they like the main character. He’s not a saint, but I’m a very realistic person and I don’t like to sugar-coat things. The book is a little gritty; the characters talk to each other in a way that I feel real-life people would talk in those situations.”

Schutte says that while he isn’t working on a sequel yet, he hasn’t ruled it out. “I left the ending open to imply that there could be something else coming down the line.”