Jack Tobin is a trial lawyer with a searing-hot reputation in Miami, far removed from his scrappy youth on the streets of New York. But when a young Florida man is railroaded into a murder conviction in the tiny Florida backwater of Bass Creek, Tobin is driven to pay back a debt to his best friend, the boy who once dubbed him ‘the Mayor of Lexington Avenue’.
In his efforts to get the death penalty overturned, Tobin moves back to South Florida, where he finds himself up against the small-town legal establishment, where favours are routinely traded at the expense of truth, and where police corruption has become an art form.
©2006 James Sheehan (P)2011 Random House Audio Go
"If you like crime novels, legal thrillers and courtroom dramas, you’ll love The Mayor of Lexington Avenue, which has all three, plus some nostalgic New York City flashbacks as an added bonus. James Sheehan, a Florida trial attorney, has created Jack Tobin, a Florida trial attorney, and one of the most interesting and complex characters I’ve come across in a long time. This is a debut novel, but it reads like it was written by a master of the genre." (Nelson DeMille)
I love legal dramas, the Mickey Haller series by Michael Connelly and the Ari Green series by Robert Rotenberg are the best but I also enjoy John Grisham and Scott Turow. This series, according to Booklist, is supposed to "leave Grisham and the gang choking on its dust". It does not.
The story starts off slowly and has some unbelievable and contrived elements, but it did eventually grab my attention and even had a few "driveway moments". However, the courtroom scenes are nowhere near as good Connelly, Rotenberg, Grisham or Turow. (Since I’ve read ALL their books, I’m looking for another good legal thriller author—but I haven’t found him/her yet.). However, I will probably give this author one more chance and read/listen to the next book in the series to see if gets any better.
I also found the writing a bit sexist--it was obviously written for a male rather than female audience, and this was annoying at times.
The narrator did a good job. There were some anomalies, like the fact that Pat, who grew up in NYC, had an Irish accent and Rudy had a Hispanic accent, although he was born in NYC and grew up in Florida--but the different accents did help keep the characters straight—even if they were a bit stereotypical. (I think if I were a Southerner, I would have found the “bubba” accents offensive.)
All in all, worth listening to, but not the best book of this genre.
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