Special Circumstances
Incriminating Evidence
Criminal Intent
Final Verdict
Judgment Day
Judgment Day
Perfect Alibi
Felony Murder Rule
The Terrorist Next Door
Special Circumstances: Synopsis | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Reviews | Making Of
Awards for Special Circumstances

Mystery Guild and Literary Guild Chosen as an alternate selection by Mystery Guild and Literary Guild.

Stacey's BookstoreBart/Muni Commuter Book-of-the-Month.


Reviews by Critics

USA Today

Siegel tells a poignant, feisty tale of a fatal shooting at a San Francisco law firm and the ensuing, briskly paced trial... characters so finely drawn you can almost smell their fear and desperation. The dialogue is taught and tangy, the ending will surprise almost everyone. Read more...

Philadelphia Inquirer

This debut novel has the genre's most offbeat attorney in Mike Dailey: He used to be a priest. He's just been "fired" by one of San Francisco's biggest law firms when two fellow lawyers are found shot to death at the office. Mike's friend Joel Friedman, also a member of the firm, is arrested as the killer. Mike defends him. An A-plus first novel.


With over a hundred mysteries and thrillers published each month, it's rare that a new book by an unknown author makes a splash, both with critics and with the public... As well-executed as most classic legal thrillers, it slips effortlessly into a distinctive narrative voice to capture Mike Daley's world and elevate the thriller story line to a deeper commentary on the state of the legal profession and the quest for true justice. Welcome to the big time, Sheldon Siegel. Read more...


This may be Siegel's first novel, but the quality of his writing proves that he has been working on his chops for a long time.  All the hallmarks of a superb legal thriller are here.  Smart, nasty lawyers, a juicy sex scandal, a shocking double homicide and nail biting courtroom scenes.  Siegel also infuses the novel with subtle humorous touches and wry observations about human nature. . . Courtroom scenes in novels often lack the impact they have on TV, but Siegel can match the best of Law and Order.  On the basis of this stellar debut, it shouldn't take Siegel long to join the best selling firm of Turow and Grisham.

San Francisco Chronicle

A page-turner of the finger-burning kind. Siegel uses San Francisco well, working both well-known and offbeat places into the plot. And he's enjoyably incisive about a smarmy attorney culture he appears well acquainted with. The old-boy buffoons and their nasty secrets make for a vivaciously venal backdrop, aided by Daley's one-man chorus of snippy asides -- none of which actually make it out of his mouth. By the time the whole circus ends up in the courtroom, the hurtling plot threatens to rip paper cuts into readers' fingers. Read more...

Los Angeles Times

A lot of readers may welcome the idea of a lawyer being snuffed, especially one who (in Mae West's words) has climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong. Better still, two lawyers, as happens near the opening of "Special Circumstances." But there are good lawyers too, and in Sheldon Siegel's book, they stand front and center. One is ... otherwise OK but is accused of murder. And there are his defenders, a companionably divorced pair, resourceful, sexy, relentlessly determined to get their friend off the hook. The particulars of the [legal] trade are piquantly presented, the investigation unfolds with allure, blow-by-blow trial details are appetizing, the narrative runs at a good clip. ...Siegel has evidently joined the ranks of novel-writing lawyers. All I can say is that his first effort turned out pretty good

Publishers Weekly

San Francisco attorney Siegel's debut pits a likable lead against a giant law firm run by villains and fools; the result is a well-made courtroom page-turner, skillful and taut right up through the ending. . . With a winning protagonist and a gripping plot, Siegel's debut is sure to make partner at its first-choice firm:  the expanding empire of Turow, Grisham, Lescroart, Wilhelm, Margolin and Baldacci.  Read more...

Library Journal

Siegel has written an admirable first novel. . .A compelling courtroom drama.  Filled with sparkling court scenes that are a rarity in legal thrillers today, the book is recommended.  Readers will be anxious for the next Mike Daley novel. Read more...

Book Passage

In this terrific courtroom mystery we watch (somewhat gleefully) the meltdown of a large San Francisco law firm after a puzzling, late-night murder occurs in its highrise offices. New novelist Sheldon Siegel, himself a S.F. attorney, captures every nuance of law-in-the-fast-lane in this legal whodunit. In this, his first book, S.F. attorney Siegel wastes no time dismantling the legal establishment and moving to the front rank of courtroom mystery writers.

Stacey's Bookstore

...Sheldon Siegel bursts into the legal thriller arena with a riveting courtroom drama, exposing the world of big-time law firms and city financial wheelings and dealings. Special Circumstances is a sharp-witted page-turner set in San Francisco...


Grisham fans have have have to check out new book Special Circumstances...

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