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AbeBooks Member Since 1996
About this Item
Title: Special Circumstances
Publisher: Bantam Books, New York, NY
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Hardcover; First Printing
Dust Jacket Condition: NF
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: First Edition
About this title
Introducing an electrifying new voice in legal fiction--in a phenomenal thriller unlike anything you've read before...
Debut author Sheldon Siegel bursts into the legal arena with a riveting courtroom drama, exposing the world of big-time law firms and lawyers in a sharp-witted, wonderfully sardonic page-turner of a novel.
Meet Mike Daley. Ex-priest. Ex-public defender. Ex-husband. And as of yesterday, ex-partner at Simpson & Gates, one of San Francisco's most prominent law firms. Today he's out on his own, setting up a private practice on the wrong side of town. Then his best friend and former colleague is charged with a brutal double murder. Daley has his first client--and is instantly catapulted into a high-profile case involving the prestigious law firm that just booted him.
The victims are one of Simpson & Gates's most powerful partners and a beautiful young associate. There's a suicide note on the partner's computer, but neither the police nor the ambitious district attorney believe it's authentic--and they think the man they've arrested is the killer. It's up to Mike Daley to prove them wrong, but time is very short.
As Daley prepares his case, he begins to uncover the firm's dirtiest secrets--and dirty they are--but he also discovers that his friend, too, has a lot to hide. Even as the trial is under way, Daley and his investigators are still frantically digging for evidence that will clear their client. Against a chorus of morning press reports and nightly TV commentaries picking apart each day's session, Daley comes to realize that ambition, politics, greed, and long-standing grudges will play just as important a role in the outcome as truth and justice. This is the real world of law practice at work, and it's as ruthless as it is startling.
Brilliantly paced, witty, crackling with energy and suspense, Special Circumstances not only brings us to a stunning denouement; it zestfully reminds us why we love to hate lawyers--but can't get enough of courtroom drama when it's done this well.
In a stunning turn of events, Daley's best friend, an ex-colleague, is charged with the double murder of two lawyers at the old firm and asks Daley to defend him. Cobbling together a defense team composed of himself, his ex-wife, and a onetime courtroom fixture named Mort Goldberg who's been wished on him against his better judgment, Daley finds he's got more to defend than his friend's innocence. The newly elected media-hungry District Attorn- ey, also a former colleague, will prosecute the case himself. As court is called into session, it becomes clear that in this trial ambition, honor, friendship, greed, and longstanding grudges will play as important a role as truth and justice.
Rarely has a legal thriller debut so accurately depicted not only the inner workings of the legal system but the crack-ling energy it takes to build and defend a felony case. In SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES author Sheldon Siegel reminds us why we love to hate lawyers -- but can't get enough of courtroom drama when it's done this well. -->
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
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