Books by Mike Stewart

A CLEAN KILL by Mike Stewart
Released: Jan. 7, 2002

"Nothing you haven't seen before in lawyer novels. But stylish Tom, who's smarter than most humans, is enough to keep you turning the pages."
The young woman at the cocktail party zeroes in on lawyer Tom McInnes (Dog Island, 2000, etc.) because she's heard two things that set him apart: he's "trustworthy as a boy scout" and "smarter than God." Sheri Baneberry's mother has died recently under circumstances that might or might not be suspicious, she tells Tom, and she needs him to decide which. While serving as a juror in a multimillion-dollar civil suit, Kate Baneberry was rushed to the hospital, suffering from food poisoning. A healthy 40-something woman dies suddenly of food poisoning after exhibiting every sign of recovery? Anything's possible, sure, but Tom's antennae quiver. Skepticism mounts even higher when he discovers that other jurors—lots of others—have had strange things happen to them whenever the prestigious law firm of Russell & Wagler represents the plaintiff. Pshaw, Alabama's legal eagles are quick to insist: Russell & Wagler is above reproach. And yet there are all those convenient illnesses. There's that succession of fat verdicts Russell & Wagler have shared. There is, Tom grows certain, dirty work at the crossroads, and powerful, ruthless people determined to keep it under wraps. They reckon, however, without resourceful, tireless Tom, who's beaten up, knifed, shot, and set up for disbarment before he demonstrates how rough boy scouts with deserving clients can play. Read full book review >
DOG ISLAND by Mike Stewart
Released: Jan. 1, 2001

"Though Stewart doesn't re-create anything like the range or freshness of his sharp debut, all is not lost: He's got the makings of an obvious summer movie."
Even though he's handily avenged the murder of his brother, Mobile lawyer Tom McInnes (Sins of the Brother, 1999) just can't stay out of trouble. A late-night call from his friend Susan Fitzsimmons takes him to Florida's St. George Island, where Carli Monroe, a runaway teenager Susan's taken in, has witnessed an execution in a nearby house. Next morning, when Tom takes Appalachicola deputy Mickey Burns out to the house to investigate, they find nothing but a pair of close-mouthed painters methodically putting the finishing touches on a redecorating job. Frustrated, Tom calls his shamus pal Joey the giant into the case to help identify the killer and the victim, but he's already too late: The killer, former football great Leroy Purcell, is moving with all due speed against Carli and Susan, and he's backed by an army of even badder dudes Tom and Joe trace to nearby Dog Island. As everybody from peaceful shrimpers to aspiring druglords to illegal-immigrant smugglers to abusive parents to Cuban freedom fighters muscles onto the overcrowded and underpoliced island, the chivalrous Travis McGee premise ("This is not why I went to law school," muses Tom in a rare moment of reflection) explodes into nonstop action, though most of the action boils down to the good guys getting wounded and the bad guys getting killed in waves, like ducks in a shooting gallery. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 4, 1999

Cutting loose from his white-shoe Mobile law firm hasn't sent Tom McInnes back to his family home in Coopers Bend, but hearing that his kid brother Hall has died does. His parents are as remote from each other, and mostly from Tom, as ever, but he does get to know his brother better than ever. Item: Hall didn't drown in the Alabama River: he was shot to death. Item: the good-time drug supplier was involved with some serious felonies and some serious bad guys. Item: Hall's girlfriend Christy Shores hardly waits till he's cold before coming on to Tom. When the case file the local sheriff has loaned him is stolen from his family's house during Hall's funeral, Tom decides to follow the trail that leads from Hall to the shadowy higher-ups behind his gambling and drug-dealing. It's a decision that'll send him first to seek the help of Mike Gerrard, the most dangerous man in Alabama, and then to battle Gerrard's endless supplies of curveballs and underlings. Before long, Tom's quest to find out the truth about Hall's death has turned into a life-or-death struggle to avoid the lassos Gerrard's tossing around his neck—and Stewart, in a brilliantly plotted curve of rising suspense, is stripping away Tom's allies by implicating them one by one in the murder as Tom swims through murky layers of deception, laying down a few himself. An atmospheric setting, evocative family background, Chinese box of a plot, and a hero tough and clever enough to surprise you as much as the bad guys—it all makes for the most accomplished debut of the season, an obvious Edgar contender, and a serious threat for the title of Compleat Suspense Novel. Read full book review >