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SON OF A BITCH

INSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS

A tale with a realistic legal backdrop that spotlights the engrossing trials of a contentious mother-and-son relationship.

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Caught in a sexually compromising position with one of her Mafioso clients, a bulldog attorney must call on her long-estranged, up-and-coming lawyer son to defend her at an ethics hearing in this debut novel.

Rising in the male-dominated legal world of Atlanta in the 1970s, Carter Scales earned her moniker of the “Dragon Lady” by being a force of nature in the courtroom and a stone wall against the constant misogyny she faced while defending some of the most notorious members of organized crime. This reputation follows her and her practice into the present day, but in a moment of emotional weakness, she jeopardizes it all and is caught performing oral sex on the head of the Salucci crime family in prison. Her one hope is her son, Benjamin, who struggled under her domineering influence and his own emotional immaturity yet still became a remarkably savvy and successful defense attorney himself. His contentious upbringing and deep familiarity with his mother’s history, from her divorce to the constant sexism she faced and the death of a judge she and her son wanted as part of their family, could save her career, though Ben’s interest is in getting something from Carter he’s never had before—an apology. Despite initial impressions, Sheffield’s book (inspired by real events) is no legal thriller, though the author does call on his own extensive background with the law to give readers a firsthand understanding of the wheeling, dealing, and grappling that go on among attorneys, clients, and judges. Instead of trading in empty suspense or surprise witnesses, the novel focuses on the dynamics between mother and son, the demands the former makes for her sacrifices and how the latter internalizes them, both blaming himself for what was missed and spiting her for putting her work over his happiness. As narrator, Ben is a joy, intolerably immature but well-balanced by his self-awareness and sense of humor, though it is, at times, a little odd how specific his knowledge of some of his mother’s more intimate moments is. The interactions between Ben and Carter, particularly their fights, are the novel’s strongest moments, so plausibly navigating between the hilarious and the heartbreaking in their arguments that their eventual détente feels truly hard-won.

A tale with a realistic legal backdrop that spotlights the engrossing trials of a contentious mother-and-son relationship.

Pub Date: July 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-9998366-1-0

Page Count: 394

Publisher: Michael Terence Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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