Debut author Sheldon Siegel bursts into the legal thriller arena with a riveting courtroom drama, exposing the world of big-time law firms and lawyers in a fresh, sharp-witted, wonderfully sardonic page-turner.
Meet Mike Daley. Ex-priest. Ex–public defender. And as of yesterday, ex-partner in one of San Francisco's most prominent law firms. Today he's out on his own, setting up practice on the wrong side of town. Then his best friend and former colleague is charged with a brutal double murder, and Daley is instantly catapulted into a high-profile investigation involving the prestigious law firm that just booted him.
As he prepares his case, Daley uncovers the firm's dirtiest secrets. It doesn't take long for him to discover that in this trial, ambition, friendship, greed, and long-standing grudges will play just as important a role as truth and justice.
Brilliantly paced, crackling with energy and suspense, Special Circumstances reminds us why we love to hate lawyers — but can't get enough of courtroom drama when it's done this well.
San Francisco attorney Siegel's debut pits a likable lead against a giant law firm run by villains and fools; the result is a well-made courtroom page-turner, skillful and taut right up through the surprise ending. Siegel's hero and narrator is the competent, low-key Mike Daley, former priest and onetime public defender, now a 45-year-old partner at San Francisco's glossy Simpson and Gates. Daley hasn't brought enough business to the criminal department, and the senior partners have asked that he resign. Also leaving the firm is Prentice Marshall "Skipper" Gates III, son of the firm's founding partner: Skipper has just been elected district attorney. "My partners are thrilled," says Daley of Skipper's departure. "They have never complained about his arrogance, sloppy work and condescending attitude.... What they can live without is his $400,000 draw..." On New Year's Eve at Simpson and Gates, Daley is packing up his office, Skipper is enjoying a glitzy farewell party and other lawyers are working to close a lucrative property deal. But when the deal falls apart, two of those lawyers--a slimy master litigator and an ambitious young female partner--are found shot to death. At first it seems to be a murder-suicide brought on by greed, sex and depression. Then one of Daley's few friends at the firm, the son of a prominent rabbi, is charged with the murders. Daley and Skipper clash in a high-profile court case with echoes of several recent real-life media circuses. If the trial itself takes up too many pages, Siegel redeems himself elsewhere by focusing on the flawed, often-desperate Daley: Siegel humanizes his hero by depicting Daley's charged, still-sexual relationship with his ex-wife, a tough lawyer who retains custody of their six-year-old daughter. With a winning protagonist and a gripping plot, Siegel's debut is sure to make partner at its first-choice firm: the expanding empire of Turow, Grisham, Lescroart, Wilhelm, Margolin and Baldacci. (Feb.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.