Special Circumstances (Mike Daley, Book 1)

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9780553581928: Special Circumstances (Mike Daley, Book 1)
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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.

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Review:

With over a hundred mysteries and thrillers published each month, it's rare that a new book by an unknown author makes a splash, both with critics and with the public. John Grisham's The Firm was a cult hit among lawyers that exploded into New York Times bestsellerdom. Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October, first published by the Naval Institute Press, was discovered when Ronald Reagan labeled it a "perfect yarn." Sheldon Siegel's debut legal thriller, Special Circumstances is likely to take its place among these precious few.

The novel begins with the distinctive voice of Siegel's ex-priest hero: "After my five years as an underproductive partner in our white-collar criminal defense department, our executive committee asked me to leave. I was, in short, fired. On Monday I'll open the law offices of Michael J. Daley, criminal-defense attorney, in a subleased office in a walk-up building in the not-so-trendy part of San Francisco's South of Market area. Welcome to the modern practice of law...."

But on his final day of work, a senior partner turns up dead. A close colleague of Daley's is the most likely suspect, and Daley--in his new walk-up practice--takes the case. In a series of brilliantly executed twists and turns, he uncovers one layer of deception and intrigue after another to get to the root truth of the case. Meanwhile, Siegel--a San Francisco attorney himself--continues to pepper his first-person narrative with Daley's dead-on jabs at the world of courtroom warfare. Of the new San Francisco DA, for example, Daley comments: "As an attorney, he's careless, lazy and unimaginative. As a human being, he's greedy, condescending and an unapologetic philanderer. As a politician, however, he's the real deal."

While Special Circumstances is not a "perfect yarn," it is nearly so. As well-executed as most classic legal thrillers, it slips effortlessly into a distinctive narrative voice to capture Mike Daley's world and elevate the thriller story line to a deeper commentary on the state of the legal profession and the quest for true justice. Welcome to the big time, Sheldon Siegel. --Patrick O'Kelley

From the Back Cover:

"A rousing legal thriller."
Chicago Sun-Times

"A page-turner of the finger-burning kind."
San Francisco Chronicle

"An A+ first novel."
The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A poignant, feisty tale ... characters so finely drawn you can almost smell their fear and desperation. The dialogue is taut and tangy."
USA Today

"By the time the whole circus ends up in the courtroom, the hurtling plot threatens to rip paper cuts into readers' hands."
San Francisco Chronicle
Don't miss Sheldon Siegel's latest legal thriller featuring Mike Daley:

Incriminating Evidence

Available in hardcover July 31, 2001, wherever Bantam Books are sold

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