Putnam, Aug 2003, 25.95
About a decade ago, lawyers Michael Daley and Rosie Fernandez triumphantly represented bum Leon Walker in a murder trial. Leon returns needing legal assistance from his attorneys as he is charged with the stabbing killing of Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tower Grayson. The duo knows they must reject this case and all murder cases as Rosie recovers from breast cancer. Besides obtaining an acquittal in the first case, the marriage between the two lawyers ended.
Perhaps it is the code of an ex-priest, but Michael, over his own judgment that reminds him of the mental and physical price these representations mean, accepts the job. The prosecution side uses every weapon in their arsenal including abuse of power through intimidation of witnesses and the defense to win. Encouraged by their client's obsession to prove his innocence before he dies from a liver ailment, Michael and Rose with the professional help of his brother a private eye type go all out in their defense, but the other side has more in its arsenal to hide the truth.
The verdict on Sheldon Siegel is that few if any of today's writers provide a better legal thriller. His latest tale contains a strong story line with incredibly realistic and compelling courtroom scenes that last for more than a paragraph or two. Fans will root for the defense team whose courageous client sets the tone and feel horrified at the “legal” excesses of the prosecution side. FINAL VERDICT is great novel that sub-genre fans will enjoy immensely, but also will think of the song The Spy Who Loved Me upon finishing the book because baby Mr. Siegel is the best.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner