Performance by Boyd Gaines
Four Cassettes, 6 hrs.
Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez, now into the third year of their legal partnership and still as close as a formerly married, hopelessly contentious, deeply bonded couple can be, find themselves with another front-page case. Skipper Gates, the San Francisco District Attorney who is the city and county's chief law enforcement officer, calls them from the Hall of Justice, where he has just been arrested for the murder of a male prostitute found tied to the bed in a hotel room where Skipper was staying. The evidence against him is formidable as well as salacious. It seems clear he's lying when he says he has no idea how the victim got there, much less how he died—but it's also clear he needs a terrific criminal attorney, and Mike and Rosie take the case.
This is the start of a probe that takes us into San Francisco's old Mission District, vividly portrayed in its many ramifications. It's where both Mike and Rosie had grown up, back in the days when it was a working class community of Irish and Spanish families. It's gentrifying now, meaning that many of the old buildings are giving way to the pricey lofts of the yuppies and dot-com techies. But much of it is still seedy or worse; this is the cesspool center of the city's drug trade, prostitution and porn business. Johnny Garcia, the corpse in Skipper's hotel room, was a seventeen-year-old male prostitute—and the search for what actually happened takes our heroes and their lively supporting cast into the lowest depths and some of the highest echelons of San Francisco life.
Sheldon Siegel's second novel is marked by the same energy, drive, sardonic insight, vivid legal detail, trial scenes, and startling outcome as SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES, but it has a darker, more disturbing story to tell that reveals fresh, more probing aspects of this gifted author's talent.
“Daley is an original and very appealing character in the overcrowded legal arena — a gentle soul who can fight hard when he has to, and a moral man who is repelled by the greed of many of his colleagues. ... starts with a bang.”
— Publishers Weekly
“An effective page-turner.... The trial procedure is fascinating and more believable than most, as Siegel concentrates on legal strategies instead of lawyer's egos.”
— Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Sheldon Siegel and Special Circumstances:
“A poignant, feisty tale ... Characters so finely drawn you can almost smell their fear and desperation. The dialogue is taut and tangy.”
— USA Today
“A page-turner of the finger-burning kind ... 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
“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.”
— Publishers Weekly
“It’s a hit!”
— Chicago Sun-Times
“A crackling good read.”
— Houston Chronicle
“All the hallmarks of a superb legal thriller are here.... [a] stellar debut.”