Author: James Sheehan
The Lawyer’s Lawyer commits its own crime – it knocks lesser crime novels to their knees. Sheehan’s Jack Tobin, Miami trial lawyer extraordinaire, twists the plot into a tornado warning – which hits down and pulls in everyone in its path. It’s that good.
Jack Tobin’s reputation as the “lawyer’s lawyer” is well earned. His trial expertise and intense integrity target him as the lawyer another lawyer hires when he needs a lawyer. Jack makes lots of money and retires. To keep himself busy, he knows he has to continue in the game of law; he truly believes in justice and he only takes clients he believes are innocent. Tobin volunteers to work for an organization named Exoneration, an organization that reviews the files on death row criminals, men or women who have been wrongly convicted. Simultaneously, Jack’s dream retirement plan is to move to a sleepy Florida haven from high profile Miami, and he chooses sleepy Bass Creek on Lake Okeechobee – he loves fishing and figures he can enjoy the good life while working on a few cases here and there for Exoneration. The parallel to Atticus Finch is easily seen; Jack Tobin is that kind of man, and lawyer. Sheehan tucks us under his arm and thrusts us into a novel both perilous and anguishing. Effortlessly.
The novel begins in Oakdale, Florida, 1991. Jack is tending bar with Pete and Ron. It’s Ron’s bar and because the Gator bowl was in town Ron’s bar, The Swamp, was full to capacity. The men had been friends for over twenty years. Jack is ready to leave the firm he started in Miami which now has over 100 lawyers. He wants to move to hole in the wall Bass Creek. Switch to Oakdale, 1993. A serial killer is on the loose, killing coeds from the University of North Central Florida. One of his victims, Stacey, escapes the man just before he tries to kill her. The detectives on the case get a good picture of the killer from Stacey’s recollections. They target Thomas Felton, who was a student at the University of Utah before moving to Oakdale. And a serial killer had been killing students at the U of U when Felton was there. And then Stacey is found murdered. And then another woman is found murdered in her own home. Her husband, Sam, runs the homicide division at the Sheriff’s Department in Apache County, Oakdale, Florida. And then there is another double homicide. Oakdale is in the hands of the serial killer. With circumstantial evidence, they get Shelton for the killings and convict him.
October 2001. Bass Creek, Florida. Eight years later, Jack and Henry Wilson are fishing on a 32 foot boat. Henry is one of Exoneration’s successes. Sitting on death row, Jack found that he was an innocent man. He was been Jack’s best friend ever since. Jack gets a call from Wanda Reardon, an old friend. Her son, Julian is in trouble. Julian, a football hero at the University of North Central Florida, has been accused of raping a girl, and he is innocent. Jack goes back to Oakdale to take the case. And he meets Detective Danni Jansen who is on the case. He gets Danni to let Julian go, and then Danni, Henry and Jack are thrown back into the case against Thomas Felton. Exoneration asks Jack to take on the case as Shelton is on death row. And Jack and Henry find a way to get Shelton out.
The plot, carefully planted and growing like wild weed, carries Jack, Henry and Danni into a world they do not want to enter. With writing that whips and slices through a fabulous plot with great characters, The Lawyer’s Lawyer delivers an outstanding read. Sheehan is at his best, and this is one of the best crime novels I have read in a long time.
The Lawyer’s Lawyer debuts in bookstores TOMORROW. Order yours NOW
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own.