• Special Circumstances

  • Mike Daley/Rosie Fernandez Legal Thriller, Book 1
  • By: Sheldon Siegel
  • Narrated by: Tim Campbell
  • Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (3,042 ratings)

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Special Circumstances  By  cover art

Special Circumstances

By: Sheldon Siegel
Narrated by: Tim Campbell
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Publisher's summary

Debut author Sheldon Siegel bursts into the legal thriller arena with a riveting courtroom drama, exposing the world of big-time law firms and lawyers in a fresh, sharp-witted, wonderfully sardonic novel.

Meet Mike Daley. Ex-priest. Ex-public defender. And as of yesterday, ex-partner in one of San Francisco's most prominent law firms. Today he's out on his own, setting up practice on the wrong side of town. Then his best friend and former colleague is charged with a brutal double murder, and Daley is instantly catapulted into a high-profile investigation involving the prestigious law firm that just booted him.

As he prepares his case, Daley uncovers the firm's dirtiest secrets. It doesn't take long for him to discover that in this trial, ambition, friendship, greed, and long-standing grudges will play just as important a role as truth and justice.

Brilliantly paced, crackling with energy and suspense, Special Circumstances reminds us why we love to hate lawyers - but can't get enough of courtroom drama when it's done this well.

©2000 Sheldon M. Siegel, Inc. (P)2017 Sheldon M. Siegel, Inc.

Featured Article: Best Mystery Series—Listens That'll Take You Right to the Crime Scene


While a standalone mystery is great when you're in the mood for a one-and-done, sometimes you want to feed your craving with an entire mystery series—knowing there's a world and characters you can keep coming back to for the satisfaction of solving crimes. With audiobooks, you get the added bonus of sinking deeper into the setting, clues, and suspects as the story is performed for you, so you'll feel like you're alongside detectives, ready to bust a case.

What listeners say about Special Circumstances

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator RUINS This Book

Wow. The narrator really ruined the book for me. With a different voice actor, this might be a very enjoyable legal thriller, but I couldn't get past the vocalization.

What was it about the narrator? Three things.

1. The tone of his voice was irritating. His natural voice sits on a certain thin low frequency and sounds froggy/whiny. Maybe those aren't the best words to describe it, but that's what comes to my mind first.

2. When he adjusts for different characters, it sounds contrived rather than natural, and because of his voice, it mostly becomes even more unbearable. Surprisingly, when he voices for female characters, it's somewhat better.

3. This is the most annoying. When the narrator pronounces words such as plural words that end in -es, he almost always makes it sound like -is or -ies. For example, "He didn't pull any punches" sounds like "He didn't pull any punchies." Or "He put on his glasses" sounds like "He put on his glassies." I can not express how irritating that was. And it wasn't just a few times, but it was constant, all the way through the book. I found my mind drifting away from what was happening in the story and specifically listening for the next word that would annoy me. It was like putting stink bait on my hook, then continually bringing my finger up to my nose to smell the residual odor, even though it really stinks. I couldn't help but listen for the next annoyance.

The narrator did a disservice to this book, which could have otherwise been a pretty solid, interesting, and enjoyable experience.

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112 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Totally Unexpected Ending! Worth reading...

This is the first book I've listened to by Sheldon Siegel. I thought it was a really good legal/courtroom mystery. I won't go over the storyline because I think Audible gives enough in their description.
The only thing I think I could add is to say that what ever you think actually happened or who ever you think may have committed the crime, you're probably wrong! I never saw this ending coming, no way could I have guessed what was coming or how Mike Daley would have handled the reality of this case.
EXCELLENT ending!
Tim Campbell does a great job narrating. His voice fits this character very well.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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73 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Just a Really Good Listen

I'm so glad that I met Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez in 'Special Circumstances' that I'm listening right now to the 2nd in this series, 'Incriminating Evidence'. Yep this is a legal thriller that's got plot and characters who pulled me into its whodunit delights.

I like it when authors obviously plan a plot, then execute it with usefully thought-out characters. Of course the denizens of these stories have purposes other than probing life's deepest secrets and feelings.. No, when this sort of book is at its best - it will shamelessly entertain.

Sheldon Siegel does that through the ensemble that Tim Campbell's created. I'm not sure which of them is luckiest to have found themselves in this partnership. Maybe the sum's greater than the whole of its parts? Regardless. Start this series with this novel. Do that, and I'm betting that, like me, you'll soon listen to 'Incriminating Evidence'."

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59 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Wait a minute, that wouldn't happen!

What disappointed you about Special Circumstances?

The implausibility of so much of the story. As you listen along, it is a pleasant enough tale, but if you think about character motivation the entire story falls apart in many cases.

What was most disappointing about Sheldon Siegel’s story?

The characters were not clearly drawn.

How could the performance have been better?

The author's style was to include many sarcastic asides. That's a fun technique for a reader who can discern the lack of quotation marks. A better performer would have found a way to differential what the character said from what he thought.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Special Circumstances?

Deus ex machina All fiction requires a suspension of disbelief, but this novel asked far too much of the reader. I kept muttering, "that would never happen."

Any additional comments?

I though the backstory of Mike Daley would make him a great character. A former priest would bring interesting insight to his criminal defense work, but Daley's was mentioned in only the most superficial ways. I was disappointed in the superficiality of the novel.

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34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Learn the law.

Too long, too much court, not enough action. No excitement and too many people that did not matter.

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31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining

This is a very good legal murder mystery. A top earning lawyer,Bob Holmes, is found dead, apparent suicide, along with another lawyer,Diana Kennedy, making it look like murder suicide. But then the new District Attorney,Prentice Marshall Gates III, formerly a lawyer with the same law firm, and the police find evidence suggesting that one of the firm's other lawyers has murdered both people. They arrest Joel Mark Friedman.
He hires Michael Daley, who has been forced to leave the firm.

Daley starts a new law firm with his ex wife, Rosita Carmela Fernandez. He and his ex are very good at trying cases, but lousy at marriage.
There are a lot of twists and turns in the plot. The courtroom scenes are excellent.
The author bio states that he is a corporate lawyer and author of seven books in this series. I give it a solid 4 stars out of 5.

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26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Pleasantly surprised it was this good

I took a chance and ordered the book and much to my amazement was listening to a great legal thriller. Just finished his second book and ordered his third.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Surprising

Because this book was a freebie, I half expected it not to have any depth. How wrong I was. I was initially entranced by the setting of the story, I worked in an East Coast law firm that was nearly a mirror image of Simpson & Gates (although on a less grand scale) in its structure and personalities. There was no turning back from that point. The plot grabbed me and swept me along with the quirky characters, unconventional romance and legal maneuverings, and deposited me smack in the middle of a doozie of a surprise ending.
“AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY” –

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24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very Enjoyable Legal Thriller

I've read other Daley/Fernandez books -- but am glad I went back to listen to the first in the series.. Each book can stand alone, but I enjoyed this one as it gave a bit more of the back story on Mike and Rosie. The pacing of these books is just perfect and Tim Campbell did a great job narrating. Now I'll pick up in the series where I left off and continue reading Siegel's great works.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Ending: Wow! I Didn't See That Coming

This is an outstanding legal thriller with lots of courtroom drama. Tim Campbell's narration is superb.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. I thought it was a good legal mystery with lively courtroom drama. It is not a perfectly written story by any means. It definitely had flaws. One obvious flaw is that it could have been edited down a bit because there were parts that may have been over written which caused the story to drag in places. Also (warning), another flaw: Who would walk into a room, with a murdered victim lying on the floor, and pick up the murder weapon without putting on gloves or using something to keep hand and finger prints off the weapon. The purpose for doing so is to put the gun in a safe place. I didn't' like that excuse, it made no logical sense to me. I think that I may be nitpicking because the story is very entertaining. It is clever, humorous, and full of metaphors. It was the ending that was a big surprise.

This suspenseful story had an exciting "didn't see that coming" ending. It is a story about murder. However it was the reason for the murder that I thought was the best reason I've ever heard as to why a person commits murder.

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16 people found this helpful