MISDEMEANOR MAN

Dylan Schaffer, Author . Bloomsbury $23.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-58234-460-7

In criminal defense lawyer Schaffer's first novel, a disappointing attempt at a comic legal thriller, a California public defender is shouldered with a routine flasher case that quickly complicates his life. "Misdo-man" Gordon Seegerman is overworked but unambitious; his passions lie with Barry X and the Mandys, his Barry Manilow cover band, and he worries that the case will interfere with the biggest gig of his musical career. Seegerman loses hope for a speedy disposal of the case when he faces his formidable ex-girlfriend, Sylvie, the ADA prosecuting the "willy wanker," Harold Dunn. She discovers Dunn's history of lewd behavior and presses for extended prison time, but Dunn refuses a plea and claims he was set up. Then the accused is bailed out by a mysterious friend, and one of the chief witnesses winds up dead. In the meantime, Seegerman stumbles onto a shady charitable organization named G-O-Dan that may connect everyone, and uncovers property investment shenanigans. Schaffer peoples the novel with an oddball but stereotypical cast: Seegerman's band, a standard array of socially disenfranchised, talented musicians who help him solve the case; the suspect local legal establishment; and Seegerman's Alzheimer's-addled father, a former police detective. Schaffer aims for comedy throughout (e.g., Seegerman's near-pathological devotion to Barry Manilow), but the book's illogical plot turns and awkward structure make for a wearying read that devolves into a contrived narrative of a misdemeanor trial. Agent, Lydia Wills at Writers and Artists. (June)

Reviewed on: 03/29/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 14 pages - 978-1-58234-569-7
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-59691-904-4
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