About the book, The Alligator Man:
Kevin Wylie’s crooked boss wants to run him out of town, and Kevin’s long-time girlfriend is ready to take a hike. He decides that now is the time to leave Miami, visit his father, who he hasn’t seen in 28 years, and get some answers. Heading back to his hometown, he doesn’t realize that he and his dad will become embroiled in a murder case.
The victim, one of the richest and most-hated corporate criminals in America has been dubbed The Alligator Man since pieces of his clothing were found in a local swamp. Billy Fuller had every reason in the world to want Johnson dead and all the evidence leads right to his doorstep. But legendary trial lawyer Tom Wylie believes in Billy and he and his son reunite to fight the courtroom battle for Billy’s life.
The Alligator Man is a story of greed, anger, love, redemption and two powerful trial attorneys who fight to the end– and risk everything–for the truth.
Get your copy from Amazon.
About the author, James Sheehan:
James Sheehan was born and raised in New York City, the fourth child of Jack Sheehan and Mary (Tobin) Sheehan. There would eventually be six children. He moved to Florida in 1974 to attend law school and became a lawyer in 1977.
He was a trial lawyer for thirty plus years. Prior to that time, he worked at various jobs: paper boy, shoeshine boy, iron worker, stock proofer, grocery boy, dishwasher, short order cook, and restaurant manager.
Presently, he is a law professor at Stetson University College of Law and the Director of the Tampa Law Center.
James currently resides in St. Petersburg, Florida near his two sons, his 5 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. James youngest daughter, Sarah, lives in New York City.
Connect with James:
I’ve been reading James Sheehan’s work for a couple of years now, after being introduced to it when his publisher sent me one of his novels asking if I’d review it. I said sure, and now they send almost everything new that he writes, although The Alligator Man actually came to me via TLC Book Tours first. Apparently the Universe REALLY wanted me to read this book, because the copy from his publisher showed up a few days later.
The Universe was not wrong. The Alligator Man is a legal thriller that merges Sheehan’s consistently solid writing style with an entirely new set of characters, and I enjoyed it immensely. (Translation: this is NOT one of his Jack Tobin novels. It’s a one-off with new characters.)
Sheehan’s own experience as a Florida resident and as a law professor and director of the Tampa (Florida) Law Center serve him well for the ‘a’ plot of the book – the story of Kevin Wylie and his father Tom and their attempt to prove Billy Fuller’s innocence. The courtroom scenes pop the way few such scenes ever do, and the language feels authentic.
The ‘b’ plot – the reforming of the father/son relationship between Kevin and Tom – is well drawn, but not quite as compelling. I’ve read reviews referring to these scenes as ‘wooden.’ I wouldn’t go that far, but I’ll confess that I felt like there wasn’t quite enough depth in those parts of the novel. Maybe that’s natural masculine reserve, or maybe it’s just my own perception.
This issue in no way impacted my engagement with the novel as a whole.
In any case, if you like legal thrillers, if you like courtroom drama, if you (like me) spent many hours of your lifetime glued to episodes of Law & Order, but wanted to go deeper, you will (like me) thoroughly enjoy The Alligator Man.