Every once in a while a book crosses my desk that is by an author who is completely unknown to me. Such was the case with The Lawyer's Lawyer by James Sheehan. I had not read any of Sheehan's previous works, but there was something about this title that piqued my interest. Once I opened its pages I was hooked. The book reads like something Grisham would have written in his earlier days.
The plot centers on an attorney named Jack Tobin. He has had a successful career as an attorney and has reached the stage of his life where he can pick and choose those cases on which he wants to represent. His one criterion is that he has to believe the defendant is not guilty and the case involving Thomas Felton meets that criteria.
Felton was charged with murder in the town of Oakville, Florida and was thought to have been a serial killer. All of the city officials are sure he was guilty as are the police chief and his team. This they are furious when Tobin manages to get Felton's conviction overturned on a technicality.
Up to this point in the plot the book reads as a fairly engrossing thriller. But then, hold on to your hat, because things take a bizarre twist that has the reader turning the pages as fast as he/she can. It is a brilliant move on Sheehan's part and one that makes this book stand out from all other basic courtroom thrillers.
The momentum of the plot holds up till the very end of the book but then slows down a notch with another unpredictable but this time unsatisfactory turn of events. This last twist doesn't ruin the story but it does dull the effect of what could have been a superbly entertaining book.
Even with its ups and downs Sheehan's book shows what a solid writer the man is. He creates believable characters that live in the reader's mind as he/she pursues the outcome of the novel. Tobin is the one who stars in the story but there are multiple side personalities who influence the outcome and make the book a warm collection of characters. Many of them could be spun off to future stories and would carry the admiration and interest of readers with them.
The Lawyer's Lawyer is a book worth reading just for its exposure to the talent of James Sheehan. It may not be the completely satisfying read it should have been, but for the majority of the time you are within its pages it holds your interest.
The Lawyer's Lawyer is published by Center Street. It contains 416 pages and sells for $22.99.