Schaffer, Dylan 1964(?)–
Schaffer, Dylan 1964(?)–
PERSONAL: Born c. 1964, in East Lansing, MI; son of Alfred (a professor) and Carol (a child psychiatrist) Schaffer; married Jennifer Dykes (a physician). Education: Cornell University, B.A., 1986; University of California—Hastings, J.D., 1990.
CAREER: Attorney and author. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, judicial clerk; criminal defense lawyer and author. Riordan & Rosenthal (law firm; now Riordan & Horgan), associate.
Dog Stories (novelty book), photographs by Jon Webber, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1997.
Misdemeanor Man (novel), Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2004.
I Right the Wrongs (novel), Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Dylan Schaffer has spent most of his career working as a criminal defense lawyer in California. After attending law school at University of California, Hastings, he clerked for a judge in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He then joined the law firm Riordan & Rosenthal. Schaffer has served as appellate counsel in more than fifty murder cases, representing many high-profile defendants. His first book, Dog Stories, was published in 1997, and is a gift book that combines Schaffer's text with photographs by Jon Weber.
In 2004, Schaffer published his first novel, Misdemeanor Man. The story revolves around California public defender Gordon Seegerman, who moonlights as a singer in the Barry Manilow tribute band Barry X and the Mandys. Gordon's latest client, flasher Harold Dunn, is suddenly accused of murder and Gordon soon finds himself entrenched in this complicated legal case when all he wants to do is play music. To make matters worse, Gordon's ex-girlfriend, Silvie, is the district attorney prosecuting Harold. Another subplot in the novel involves the relationship between Gordon and his ex-cop father, who is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
Overall, critics praised Schaffer's work in Misdemeanor Man. Some found the novel not in keeping with the typical thriller genre, but appealing for a wider audience. "Fans of mainstream legal thrillers won't know what to make of Gordon—or Barry Manilow!—but those who like quirky comedy mixed with mystery will feel at home here," wrote Booklist contributor Jenny McLarin. Other reviewers acknowledged the author's ability to create unusual and interesting characters. "Schaffer has a good eye for the oddities of human nature, a skeptical mind and a nice way with a phrase," commented Patrick Anderson in a review for the Washington Post.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2004, Jenny McLarin, review of Misdemeanor Man, p. 1602.
Chicago Tribune, August 22, 2004, Stephen J. Lyons, "Characters Looking for Answers in Other Lives," p. 7.
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 21, 2004, Jamie Sotonoff and Joel Reese, "He's the Manilow," p. 1.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2004, review of Misdemeanor Man, p. 295.
Publishers Weekly, March 29, 2004, review of Misdemeanor Man, p. 35.
Washington Post, June 21, 2004, Patrick Anderson, "The Devil and Barry Manilow," p. 2.
Bloomsbury USA Web site, http://www.bloomsbury.com/ (February 10, 2005), "Dylan Schaffer."
Dylan Schaffer Home Page, http://www.dylanschaffer.com (February 10, 2005).
January Online, http://www.januarymagazine.com/ (February 10, 2005), interview with Schaffer.
University of California, Hastings College of Law Web site, http://www.uchastings.edu/ (February 10, 2005), "Dylan Schaffer."