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Incriminating Evidence

Incriminating Evidence

4.5 9
by Sheldon Siegel

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Special Circumstances introduced an exciting new voice in legal fiction - a talent so original, it drew comparisons with the very top tier of courtroom thriller writers.

Now Sheldon Siegel delivers a new challenge for defense attorney Mike Daley - ex-priest, ex-husband, ex-public defender - and it's a high-profile zinger: a case he doesn't think he can win for


Special Circumstances introduced an exciting new voice in legal fiction - a talent so original, it drew comparisons with the very top tier of courtroom thriller writers.

Now Sheldon Siegel delivers a new challenge for defense attorney Mike Daley - ex-priest, ex-husband, ex-public defender - and it's a high-profile zinger: a case he doesn't think he can win for a client he can't stand.

It starts with a phone call Mike Daley never expected to get, from District Attorney Prentice Marshall Gates III, San Francisco's chief law enforcement officer and front-runner candidate for California attorney general. Friends they're not; Skipper Gates had led the charge to get Mike fired from his job as a partner in a prestigious law firm.

But Gates needs Daley now - and needs him badly. He's just been arrested. It seems that a couple of hours earlier he woke up in an armchair in his hotel room and found the dead body of a young male prostitute in the bed.

The details that continue to emerge from the crime scene are tabloid heaven. The SFPD is certain Gates did it. The prosecutors are already talking the death penalty, and there's nothing in the mounting evidence, and certainly not in Gates's unpersuasive denials, to convince Daley and his partner (and ex-wife) Rosie of his innocence. But even if he's lying, it's their job to defend him, and that means finding out what really happened.

Sure enough, the deeper they dig, the seamier their findings. An array of influential power brokers is all too ready to cover questionable activities that may - or may not - connect with the victim. There's a campaign manager with his own dirty secrets, a shady Internet entrepreneur who trades flesh for cash, a prominent businessman who uses muscle to keep his enterprise prospering.

Mike and Rosie chase down trails that take them from the lowest depths of the Mission District, where drugs and bodies are always for sale, to the gated mansions of Pacific Heights, all the while contending with a trial that gets under way even as they are frantically trying to piece together what is really at stake in the case against Gates.

Its riveting blend of inside knowledge, powerful suspense, courtroom intrigue, and ironic humor makes Incriminating Evidence an edge-of-the-seat novel that will hold readers from the very first page to its startling denouement.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"I look around the table: my ex-wife, my ex-girlfriend and me. We aren't a law firm we're a support group. Somebody will probably name a 12-step program after us." That's Mike Daley ex-priest, ex-public defender, ex-partner in one of San Francisco's fanciest law firms describing his new team of criminal defense specialists, housed in a former martial arts studio in the Mission District. It also sums up the considerable charm and strength of Siegel's second Daley vehicle, following on the heels of the well-received Special Circumstances. 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. His latest adventure starts with a bang: Prentice "Skipper" Marshall Gates III, San Francisco's district attorney and the man responsible for getting Daley fired from his law firm, is discovered at the Fairmont Hotel next to the naked dead body of a young male prostitute. He asks Mike to defend him on murder charges, then proceeds to lie to him and withhold vital information so often that a defense lawyer with a more macho self-image would quit in anger and disgust. But Daley believes Skipper is innocent and his struggling little firm needs the money. The central parts of the book, the investigations and the trial itself, are sluggish in spots and inflated with pregnant pauses, but in the end Siegel is so good at making readers believe in Mike Daley's decency that they'll be willing to forgive any narrative lapses. Agent, Margret McBride. Major ad/promo; teaser chapter in Special Circumstances. (Aug. 7) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Mike Daley and friends are back in this intriguing sequel to Siegel's highly praised debut, Special Circumstances. Prentice Gates, the San Francisco district attorney and a leading candidate for California attorney general, wakes up in his hotel room after spending the night in an armchair and finds a dead male prostitute on the bed. After his arrest on suspicion of murder, Gates realizes that the one man who can help him the most is someone he despises, defense lawyer Mike Daley. Daley reluctantly takes the case, and as he digs to uncover the truth, the mounting evidence seems to implicate his client. Is Gates as guilty as he seems? As in Siegel's previous book, the San Francisco setting and the courtroom scenes ring true. Readers will be anxiously awaiting this new Mike Daley novel. Recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/01.] Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
CD 0-553-71437-6 cassette 0-553-52813-0 When San Francisco D.A. Prentice Marshall "Skipper" Gates III, of all people, is charged with the death of a male teenage prostitute, the city braces for the first trial of the century, and attorney Mike Daley (Special Circumstances, 2000) scrambles to build a case. Daley, narrator and protagonist, has some interesting entanglements of his own: his partner in Fernandez and Daley is ex-wife Rosie, and the only other lawyer in the firm is an ex-girlfriend who, like Daley, once worked for Gates's law firm. Gates, who was in the middle of a campaign for California attorney general when the trouble started, is far from the ideal client: he's insufferable, and his lack of candor continually hampers Daley's efforts. His lawyer-daughter, Ann, is worse, however, as she tries time and again to insinuate herself onto the defense team. As the investigation broadens, it takes Daley around San Francisco—the Mission District, North Beach, Pacific Heights—where he deals with an interesting cross-section of locals, nearly all of whom hold him in high esteem. These include sleazy political consultants, a top-of-the-line private investigator, and a priest who has to go into the gutter to save his parishioners. A great deal of the story takes place in the courtroom, with the trial unfolding from Daley's perspective. Here, the author, as expected, does a good job of getting into the mind of his character. The trial procedure is fascinating and more believable than most, as Siegel concentrates on legal strategies instead of lawyer's egos. No surprise ending, alas, but from beginning to end, an effective page-turner with a realistic, if somewhatcynical, climax that holds true to the powerhouse milieu in which Daley and his colleagues have been operating all along.

Product Details

Sheldon M. Siegel, Inc.
Publication date:
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6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.89(d)

Read an Excerpt

“We Have a Situation”

“The attorney general is a law enforcement officer, not a social worker.”

— Prentice Marshall Gates III, San Francisco district attorney and candidate for California attorney general.

Monday, September 6.

Being a partner in a small criminal defense firm isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Oh, it’s nice to see your name at the top of the letterhead, and there is a certain amount of ego gratification that goes along with having your own firm. Then again, you have to co-sign the line of credit and guarantee the lease. You also tend to get a lot of calls from collection agencies when cash flow is slow. In this business, founder’s privilege extends only so far.

Unlike our well-heeled brethren in the high-rises that surround us, the attorneys in my firm, Fernandez and Daley, occupy cramped quarters around the corner from the Transbay bus terminal and next door to the Lucky Corner Number 2 Chinese restaurant. Our office is located on the second floor of a 1920s walk-up building at 553 Mission Street, on the only block of San Francisco’s South of Market area that has not yet been gentrified by the sprawl of downtown. Although we haven’t started remodeling yet, we recently took over the space from a now-defunct martial arts studio and moved upstairs from the basement. Our files sit in what used to be the men’s locker room. Our firm has grown by a whopping fifty percent in the last two years. We’re up to three lawyers.

“Rosie, I’m back,” I sing out to my law partner and ex-wife as I stand in the doorway to her musty,sparsely furnished office at eight-thirty in the morning on the Tuesday after Labor Day. Somewhere behind four mountains of paper and three smiling pictures of our eight-year-old daughter, Grace, Rosita Fernandez is already working on her second Diet Coke and cradling the phone against her right ear. She gestures at me to come in and mouths the words “How was your trip?”

I just got back from Cabo, where I was searching for the perfect vacation and, if the stars lined up right, the perfect woman. Well, my tan is good. When you’re forty-seven and divorced, your expectations tend to be pretty realistic.

Rosie runs her hand through her thick, dark hair. She’s only forty-three, and the gray flecks annoy her. She holds a finger to her full lips and motions me to sit down. She gives me a conspiratorial wink and whispers the name Skipper as she points to the phone. “No, no,” she says to him. “He’ll be back this morning. I expect him any minute. I’ll have him call you as soon as he gets in.”

I sit down and look at the beat-up bookcases filled with oatmeal-colored legal volumes with embossed gold lettering that says California Reporter. I glance out the open window at the tops of the Muni buses that pass below us on Mission Street. This is an improvement over our view before we moved upstairs. When we were in the basement, we got to look at the bottoms of the very same buses.

On warm, sunny days like today, I’m glad we don’t work in a hermetically sealed building. On the other hand, by noon, the smell of bus fumes will make me wish we had an air conditioner. Our mismatched used furniture is standard stock for those of us who swim in the lower tide pools of the legal profession.

Rosie and I used to work together at the San Francisco public defender’s office. Then we made a serious tactical error and decided to get married. We are very good at being lawyers, but we were very bad at being married. We split up almost seven years ago, shortly after Grace’s first birthday. Around the same time, I went to work for the tony Simpson and Gates law firm and Rosie went out on her own. Our professional lives were reunited about two years ago when I was fired by the Simpson firm because I didn’t bring in enough high-paying clients. I started subleasing space from Rosie. On my last night at Simpson and Gates, two attorneys were gunned down in the office. I ended up representing the lawyer who was charged with the murders. That’s when Rosie decided I was worthy of being her law partner.

I point to myself and whisper, “Does Skipper want to talk to me?”

She nods. She scribbles a note that says “Do you want to talk to him?”

Prentice Marshall Gates III, known as Skipper, is the San Francisco district attorney. We used to be partners at Simpson and Gates. His father was Gates. He’s now running for California attorney general. His smiling mug appears on billboards all over town under the caption “Mr. Law and Order.” Two years ago, he won the DA’s race by spending three million dollars of his inheritance. I understand he’s prepared to ante up five million this time around.

I whisper, “Tell him you just heard me come in and I’ll call him back in a few minutes.” I’m going to need a cup of coffee for this.

Skipper is, well, a complicated guy. To my former partners at Simpson and Gates, he was a self-righteous, condescending ass. To defense attorneys like me, he’s an opportunistic egomaniac who spends most of his time padding his conviction statistics and preening for the media. To the citizens of the City and County of San Francisco, however, he’s a charismatic local hero who vigorously prosecutes drug dealers and pimps. He takes full credit for the fact that violent crime in San Francisco has dropped by a third during his tenure. Even though he’s a law-and-order Republican and a card-carrying member of the NRA, he has led the charge for greater regulation of handguns and sits on the board of directors of the Legal Community Against Violence, a local gun-control advocacy group. He’s an astute politician. It’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll win the AG race. The only question is whether he’ll be the next governor of California.

Rosie cups her hand over the mouthpiece. “He says it’s urgent.” Her eyes gleam as the sunlight hits her face.

With Skipper, everything is urgent. “If it’s that important,” I whisper, “it can wait.”

She smiles and tells him I’ll call as soon as I can. Then her grin disappears as she listens intently. She puts the chief law enforcement officer of the City and County of San Francisco on hold. “You may want to talk to him,” she says.

“And why would I want to talk to Mr. Law and Order this fine morning?”

The little crow’s-feet around her eyes crinkle. “It seems Mr. Law and Order just got himself arrested.”

“I’ll take it in my office.”

From the Audio Cassette edition.

Copyright 2001 by Sheldon Siegel

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Sheldon Siegel is a third-generation native of Chicago's Southeast Side, where he grew up a few blocks from Michelle Obama's family. Sheldon and his family moved to the suburbs in the 1970s, where he graduated from New Trier High School a year ahead of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign in 1980, and his law degree from Boalt Law School at the University of California-Berkeley in 1983. He has been in private practice in San Francisco since then, and he specializes in corporate and securities law with the San Francisco office of the international law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

Sheldon began writing his first book, Special Circumstances, on a laptop computer during his daily commute on the ferry from Marin County to San Francisco. A frequent speaker and sought-after teacher, Sheldon is a San Francisco Library Literary Laureate, the President of the Northern California Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, and an active member of the International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. His work has been displayed at the Doe Library at the University of California at Berkeley, and he has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Illinois and a Northern California Super Lawyer.

Sheldon is the author of seven critically acclaimed legal thrillers featuring San Francisco criminal defense attorneys Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez, two of the most beloved characters in contemporary crime fiction. His eighth novel, The Terrorist Net Door, is his first novel set in his hometown and featuring South Chicago homicide detectives David Gold and A.C. Battle. His books have sold millions of copies worldwide.

Sheldon lives in the San Francisco area with his wife, Linda, and their twin sons, Alan and Stephen. He is a lifelong fan of the Chicago Bears, White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks. He is currently working on his next novel.

Sheldon welcomes your comments and feedback. Please e-mail him at sheldon@sheldonsiegel.com. For more information on Sheldon, book signings (in person and virtual), the backstory or "making of" his books, and additional information, visit his website at www.sheldonsiegel.com. Find Sheldon online at:

E-mail: sheldon@sheldonsiegel.com
Website: www.sheldonsiegel.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sheldonsiegelauthor
Twitter: @SheldonSiegel

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Incriminating Evidence 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another drama with great charactrer and plot development. Excellent courtroom antics and interesting story regarding Mike Daley becoming the defense attorney for his arch nemesis. Bravo??
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sheldon Siegel's second novel, Incriminating Evidence, is every bit as good as his very good first book, Special Circumstances; and he deserves to be placed in the top-tier of legal thriller writers. Siegel's characters are very well-developed -- particularly his continuing protagonist, Mike Daley, and his ex-wife and law partner, Rosie -- and the plot is fast-paced and bristles with energy. Siegel's ability to combine excitement, surprises, humor and suspense makes Incriminating Evidence a book that you won't want to put down. Without going into detail for fear of providing information which might weaken some of the story's suspense for you, the only thing that kept me from rating this book a '5' is that I felt slightly--and I emphasize 'slightly'-- disappointed in the ending. Nevertheless, Special Circumstances is a book I know you'll enjoy and will want to recommend to your friends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A well-known district attorney accused of murder; male prostitute, poisons, prosecutors eating their own -- all in the first chapter. Beyond that, Incriminating Evidence creates a world of intrigue, payoffs, shady characters in saint's clothing -- in addition to wanting to find out 'who done it' -- or at least did his guy do it, the real, unique power of Incriminating Evidence are the questions unanswered, as in real life, even as certain powers that be are exposed. A few courtroom blunders, but mostly dead-on capture of courtroom workings and, more important, courtroom personalities. Excellent; excellent; excellent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best legal thriller I have ever read. Good characters, fast pace, good story and it grips you from start to finish. Buy it and have fun.
Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW!!!! What a sequel!!!! Usually the second book falls flat but the continuing escapades of mike and rosie through the brilliant writing skills of sheldon siegel make this one a complete, total winner!!!! Do not waste your time reading further reviews, just get this awesome book and start reading so you can tell everyone else about this phenomenal legal thriller. Thanx, Sheldon, for such an exciting romp through our very own wonderful area! Hurry up with book 3 please!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ex-priest, now defense attorney, Mike Daley never expected to receive a phone call from District Attorney Prentice (Skipper) Gates. Skipper, now a front runner for California attorney general, has a history with Mike, a bad one¿not only did Skipper aid in Mike losing his job, but he also went up against him, prosecuting a case Mike was defending¿now, Skipper needs his help, as it turns out Skipper has awoke in his hotel room to find a dead male prostitute in bed. Arrested, Skipper needs Mike¿s help, for Mike is the best man for the job. Swearing his innocence, Skipper begs Mike to take on the case and clear his name. Mike, not a big fan of Skipper, hesitates, but does what any good defense attorney would do¿he takes on the case, with the help of his partner, and ex-wife Rosie. As Mike and Rosie begin their investigation they realize very powerful people are willing to do whatever it takes to keep some things from being found out. And the deeper the two become involved they chase a trail from the seedier side of town where drugs and bodies are always for sale, to the closed doors of the rich. Mike and Rosie frantically race to put together the pieces of this puzzle for a man¿s life depends on it. `Incriminating Evidence¿ packs a wallop, starting off fast, the reader is led on a maze of twists and turns, where no one is who they seem, and everyone has something to hide. Using powerful suspense, high drama, and hot courtroom scenes, Sheldon Siegel has crafted an excellent follow-up to his debut bestseller `Special Circumstances¿, one that will keep readers up all night turning the pages. Move over Grisham, Sheldon Siegel has arrived, and with this, his second novel, he has proven he is an author to reckon with. With his original plots, and page-turning twists Sheldon Siegel has joined my list of MUST READ authors! With out question `Incriminating Evidence¿ will be a bestseller, and have fans anxiously awaiting the next appearance of Mike Daley. Nick Gonnella
harstan More than 1 year ago
San Francisco District Attorney Prentice ¿Skipper¿ Gates III held a campaign rally for his bid for reelection at the Fremont Hotel that ended late. He stayed at the hotel overnight only to wake up with a male corpse sharing his room. The police arrest Skipper for murder and he then calls Mike Daley, his former partner in the Simpson and Gates law firm to get him out of jail and defend him in such a way that this campaign and his future efforts at statewide office are not damaged.

Besides courtroom rivals in recent years since Mike is a defense attorney, the duo had bad blood when they worked together. Still, a reluctant Mike accepts Skipper as a client though he feels the man is guilty or at least hiding something. As the prosecutors pursue a death penalty conviction, accompanied by his partner, his ex-wife Rosita Fernandez, Mike begins making inquiries throughout the Bay area to learn what went down that night.

Sheldon Siegel brings back the effective legal team of Daley and Fernandez (see SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES) in another captivating legal thriller. The story line provides a wonderful tour of San Francisco inside a strong courtroom drama that enables readers to follow Mike¿s thought processes. The INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE against Skipper and his attitude makes Mike and Rosita¿s work much harder and this much more enjoyable for the reader. Sub-gene fans will want more tales from Mr. Siegel starring his dynamic duo, but perhaps Rosita can take the lead so that the audience can understand her thinking better from more of her perspective than that of Mike¿s.

Harriet Klausner