PERSONAL: Born July 14, 1958; married; wife's name, Linda; children: Alan, Stephen. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: University of Illinois, Champaign, BS Accounting, 1980; Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California—Berkeley, J.D., 1983. Religion: "Jewish." Hobbies and other interests: "Sports, reading."
ADDRESSES: Home—Marin County, CA. Agent—Margret McBride, Margaret McBride Literary Agency, 7744 Fay Avenue, Suite 201, La Jolla, CA 92037. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Attorney and novelist.
Special Circumstances, Bantam (New York, NY), 2000.
Incriminating Evidence, Bantam (New York, NY), 2001.
Criminal Intent, Putnam (New York, NY), 2002.
Final Verdict, Putnam (New York, NY), 2003.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Reasonable Doubt, a novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Sheldon Siegel is an attorney who began his first novel, Special Circumstances, during his commute by ferry from Marin County, California, to his San Francisco office. He dedicated the novel to his colleagues who were killed by a former client who gunned them down on July 1, 1993. He began the book in 1995, took creative writing courses in 1997, and found an agent and a publisher in 1998. Siegel is a corporate lawyer, but his protagonist and narrator, Mike Daley, is a criminal lawyer, a former priest, and a public defender. A Publishers Weekly contributor called Daley "flawed, often-desperate . . . Siegel humanizes his hero by depicting Daley's charged, still-sexual relationship with his ex-wife, a tough lawyer who retains custody of their six-year-old daughter."
Daley leaves Simpson & Gates, a large San Francisco law firm, and sets up his own neighborhood practice. His first client is his friend and former colleague, Joel, the son of a rabbi, who is accused of killing two slimy Simpson & Gates attorneys. He is opposed in court by Prentice Marshall "Skipper" Gates III, who left the firm to become district attorney. People Weekly contributor Ralph Novak felt Siegel "borrows far too heavily from the O. J. Simpson trial." Library Journal reviewer Jeff Ayers, however, judged that the novel is "filled with sparkling court scenes that are a rarity in legal thrillers today." "It shouldn't take Siegel long to join the best-selling firm of Turow and Grisham," wrote Jenny McLarin in Booklist.
In Incriminating Evidence, District Attorney Skipper Gates wakes up in a hotel with a dead male prostitute in his bed. Despite his personal dislike for Gates, Daley believes that he might be innocent, and takes on his case. Library Journal's Jeff Ayers noted that the "courtroom scenes ring true," while Booklist's Joanne Wilkinson called Incriminating Evidence "a solid . . . legal thriller."
Criminal Intent again features Daley and his law partner—and ex-wife—Rosie Fernandez. Rosie's actress niece, Angel, is accused of murdering her husband, a movie director many years older than Angel. He was directing his "comeback" film, which starred Angel. Mike and Rosie have to defend Angel, while also dealing with other extended family issues, including Rosie's brother's dealings with the mob, and Mike's secret affair with a judge. Booklist's Mary Frances Wilkins noted that "a surprise ending will keep readers yearning for more."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 1, 1999, Jenny McLarin, review of Special Circumstances, p. 661; May 1, 2001, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Incriminating Evidence, p. 1641; August, 2002, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of Criminal Intent, p. 1888.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2002, review of Criminal Intent, p. 836.
Library Journal, December, 1999, Jeff Ayers, review of Special Circumstances, p. 189; June 15, 2001, Jeff Ayers, review of Incriminating Evidence, p. 105; July, 2002, Jill M. Tempest, review of Criminal Intent, p. 122.
People Weekly, March 13, 2000, Ralph Novak, review of Special Circumstances, p. 55.
Publishers Weekly, December 13, 1999, review of Special Circumstances, p. 63; February 28, 2000, Judy Quinn, "A New Grisham?" p. 21; July 23, 2001, review of Incriminating Evidence, p. 48; July 8, 2002, review of Criminal Intent, p. 30.
Official Sheldon Siegel Web site,http://www.sheldonsiegel.com (May 14, 2001).*