THE CONFESSION by Sheldon Siegel

Author Sheldon Siegel has created quite a franchise with his courtroom novels written about the careers of attorneys Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez. Daley is an ex-priest and Rosie is his ex-wife. Though they couldn't stay married they could stay partners in their law firm. They may fight with each other in private but in pubic they are a forceful team.

In their latest adventure titled THE CONFESSION, Mike and Rosie represent a priest accused of murder. Father Ramon Aguirre is accused of murdering Maria Concepcion, an attorney who was working on a sexual harassment case filed against the Catholic Church. At first Maria's death is thought to be a suicide but later charges are filed against Aguirre for murder.

The Catholic Church wishes to have its own staff of attorneys represent Father Aguirre but he has asked for Daley. This means Daley starts off fighting the Church and the prosecutors. Still he is tenacious and with Rosie's help, and a few more family members, he mounts a credible defense. But then cracks in the case starts appearing at a rapid rate.

Siegel, who is also an attorney, knows his courtrooms and he knows his law. He also knows how to write interesting novels. One of his tactics is to use the mental aside when Daley is speaking with people. He gives the conversation Daley is speaking but then he also adds in what Daley really has on his mind. This is an amusing and informative approach to writing that gives the book a twist and some comic relief.

This is the fifth novel Siegel has written using the characters of Daley and Fernandez, and he should definitely keep their stories going. He has their personalities down pat and their personal relationship in an uproar. The readers of his books not only want to know "whodunit," they also want to know what is going to happen to Mike and Rosie.

The title of Siegel's latest book is a play on words as the term "confession" has legal and religious meanings. But for Siegel's fans it just means more intriguing reading from a man who knows how to create stories that are informative, educational, and most of all entertaining.

I "confess" I loved this book, but then I am such a fan I could read a Mike and Rosie story every month if Siegel would be kind enough to write that frequently. But for now we can only rejoice in the fact that a new story has arrived and it is a "grabber." Grab hold of a copy and settle down for a fast-paced, suspense filled read that will have you gasping, laughing and even tearing up before the tale is over.

THE CONFESSION is published by G P Putnam's Sons. It contains 368 pages and sells for $25.95.

2004 Jackie K. Cooper