Cover image for Misdemeanor man : a novel
Misdemeanor man : a novel
Schaffer, Dylan.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Bloomsbury, [2004]

Physical Description:
339 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


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FICTION Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery

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Gordon Seegerman is a reluctant public defender by day, and the wildly enthusiastic lead singer in a Barry Manilow cover band by night. Perfectly content to handle petty cases for the rest of his career, he dreams that Manilow-the real Barry Manilow-will one day show up at his band's gig.

When his boss sticks him with a misdemeanor flasher case, Seegerman thinks, no problem. He'll plead the case, caution his client to keep his trousers zipped, and rush back to rehearsal. No such luck. The flasher is rotting in a maximum security unit, and opposing counsel is the woman who stole, and refuses to return, Seegerman's heart.

When his client vanishes and a key witness winds up dead, Seegerman lands in the legal tangle of his career. His bandmates in tow, he uncovers corruption among his city's most prominent citizens. Like it or not, Seegerman has to act like a real lawyer. And, believe it or not, he's good at it.

A gripping, irreverent legal thriller, Misdemeanor Man will have you on the edge of your seat, routing for the underdog, and believing in the magic of Manilow.

Author Notes

Dylan Schaffer is a criminal defense lawyer who has served as appellate counsel in more than fifty murder cases, including death penalty matters. He has represented defendants in the Billionaire Boys Club case, the repressed-memory murder case, and the John Gotti-Gambino Family prosecution. He lives in Oakland, California. This is his first novel.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

San Francisco attorney Schaffer's debut offers an offbeat portrait of an underachieving Northern California public defender, Gordon Seegerman, whose big passion in life is the music of Barry Manilow. A misdemeanor man whose usual beat involves defending people accused of misdos --frat brothers shooting off guns for fun--Gordon draws an odd case involving Harold Dunn, a flasher and possible murderer who claims he is being set up. Reluctantly investigating while his band Barry X and the Mandys gets ready for a huge gig with the B-man himself, Gordon discovers that the admittedly odd Harold may be right. Schaffer's strength definitely lies in character development, and Gordon's bandmates provide the best moments in the story, particularly randy lesbian Maeve and introspective Sikh drummer Preet. A side story featuring Gordon's father and his struggle with Alzheimer's adds some needed depth to Gordon's character. Fans of mainstream legal thrillers won't know what to make of Gordon--or Barry Manilow!--but those who like quirky comedy mixed with mystery will feel right at home here. --Jenny McLarin Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In criminal defense lawyer Schaffer's first novel, a disappointing attempt at a comic legal thriller, a California public defender is shouldered with a routine flasher case that quickly complicates his life. "Misdo-man" Gordon Seegerman is overworked but unambitious; his passions lie with Barry X and the Mandys, his Barry Manilow cover band, and he worries that the case will interfere with the biggest gig of his musical career. Seegerman loses hope for a speedy disposal of the case when he faces his formidable ex-girlfriend, Sylvie, the ADA prosecuting the "willy wanker," Harold Dunn. She discovers Dunn's history of lewd behavior and presses for extended prison time, but Dunn refuses a plea and claims he was set up. Then the accused is bailed out by a mysterious friend, and one of the chief witnesses winds up dead. In the meantime, Seegerman stumbles onto a shady charitable organization named G-O-Dan that may connect everyone, and uncovers property investment shenanigans. Schaffer peoples the novel with an oddball but stereotypical cast: Seegerman's band, a standard array of socially disenfranchised, talented musicians who help him solve the case; the suspect local legal establishment; and Seegerman's Alzheimer's-addled father, a former police detective. Schaffer aims for comedy throughout (e.g., Seegerman's near-pathological devotion to Barry Manilow), but the book's illogical plot turns and awkward structure make for a wearying read that devolves into a contrived narrative of a misdemeanor trial. Agent, Lydia Wills at Writers and Artists. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved