cover image The Alligator Man

The Alligator Man

James Sheehan. Center Street, $23 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4555-0864-8

In this straightforward, character-driven stand-alone, Sheehan (The Lawyer’s Lawyer and two other Jack Tobin legal thrillers) clearly distinguishes between heroes and villains. Wealthy Roy Johnson has retired to Gladestown, Fla., after escaping with a golden parachute from his company, Dynatron, whose collapse destroyed the jobs, health insurance, and pensions of 20,000 employees. When Roy is reported missing one morning, some people at first presume that an alligator snatched him on his nightly drunken walk. Then a local teen comes forward to report a hit-and-run, followed by a witness’s report of a man leaving a bar in a nearby town on that night, muttering about killing someone. Police quickly identify the man as former Dynatron employee Billy Fuller. Enter Kevin Wylie, an unemployed defense lawyer visiting his dying father in Billy’s hometown. Sheehan paints a sympathetic portrait of Kevin, Billy, and others on the side of the law, while crafting an ending that will satisfy readers who like to see justice prevail. (Oct.)