cover image The Mayor of Lexington Avenue

The Mayor of Lexington Avenue

James Sheehan. Yorkville Press, $14.95 (420pp) ISBN 978-0-9767442-1-4

Sheehan, a Florida trial lawyer, serves up a story of miscarried justice and loyalty in his debut novel. A corrupt small-town Florida police department arrests Rudy Kelly, a ""slow"" 19-year-old, for a murder he didn't commit, and, after an ineffectual public defender fumbles the case, Rudy receives a death sentence. Meanwhile, Sheehan sketches in flashback the 1960s New York childhoods of Mikey Kelly and Johnny Tobin. Ten years after Rudy's conviction, Tobin, now a hotshot Miami lawyer who goes by Jack, leaves his firm and finds a new direction after reading about Mikey's death-looking into his son Rudy's conviction. The plot may seem predictable, but surprises pop up along the way. Unfortunately, Sheehan leans on cliches, tired similes and unrealistic dialogue (""I love you so much it hurts. I've never felt this way about anyone.""), and characters fall in love and make decisions for no reason other than to advance the plot. Glitches aside, the story picks up in the later parts of the book, and Sheehan's bar experience shows in his courtroom scenes and passages on legal maneuvering.