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Sunday, August 17, 2014


5 stars out of 5

Belonging to at least half a dozen websites that offer free/low-cost ebooks every day definitely has advantages - I've found some great books and new-to-me authors this way - but there's at least one downside as well: With so many possibilities, how do I choose what I'd like to read and be reasonably confident those I pick won't be truly awful?

So far, I've got a good track record; carefully reading reviews, especially the ones by readers who didn't much care for a particular book, helps immensely. Just one complaint about poor editing, for instance (i.e., errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation and word choice) and I run the other way as fast as I can. 

This one is Book 4 in a series featuring ex-husband-and-wife lawyers Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez, and although it passed the initial sniff test with flying colors, I had reservations about starting in the middle of a series (especially since it wasn't free, although 99 cents through BookBub certainly wasn't bad). As it turned out, I'd have been happier to start at the beginning - some of the background information that shows up in this book was quite interesting, including that Mike used to be a priest, and I'd love to know more about that). But to the author's credit, at no time did I feel at a disadvantage by starting where I did.

This one begins as Mike gets a phone call from an ex-con former client who basically was the reason he and  Rosie divorced - they fought so much during the defense (they got the charges dropped) that they just couldn't stay together any longer. This time, a hot-shot venture capitalist has been murdered, found in a dumpster in a very seedy part of San Francisco. The former client, Leon Walker, was found passed out at the scene with incriminating evidence on his person - and the cops are insisting he's the killer. Leon insists he's not, and to complicate matters even more, he's a dying man - literally; he has only weeks, if that, to live and wants to clear his name.

Needless to say, taking on the case isn't a hit with Rosie (she and Mike have continued their professional relationship in their own law firm despite the divorce). But Mike prevails, and they take on what appears to be an impossible case. Not only is the evidence stacked against them, but the victim's family and venture capital firm partners stand united in support of his stellar reputation, both at the firm and as a husband and father.

What happens in the courtroom seems quite authentic (not too surprising since the author is an attorney), and I enjoyed the writing style of inserting what Mike was thinking before reading what he actually said. I admit I got a tiny bit weary of it by the end, though, so had there been another 100 pages it might reached my last remaining nerve. Thankfully, it didn't, and I enjoyed the story so much that I've made it my quest to finish the rest of the series ("The Confession," "Judgment Day" and "Perfect Alibi," in that order, I believe.

Good stuff - and a new favorite author!

Final Verdict by Sheldon Siegel (Sheldon M. Siegel Inc., January 2014); 432 pp.

Update: Not long after I wrote this review - and as I was looking for a good deal on the rest of this series - I discovered that they're all free for members of the new Kindle Unlimited ($9.99 per month). Since they offer a 30-day free trial, I signed up - and immediately downloaded all four of the remaining books in this series plus a couple of other books I've been wanting to read. I'm not sure if I'll continue with the paid version, though, so stay tuned!

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