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The Confession Hardcover – August 19, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lawyer and ex-priest Mike Daley is back again in Siegel's fifth legal thriller (Final Verdict, etc.), this time going to bat for Father Ramon Aguirre, his longtime friend and beloved local priest in San Francisco's Mission District. Aguirre is accused of murdering his parishioner Maria Concepcion, a fiercely competitive lawyer who became something of a celebrity after instigating and successfully settling several abuse cases against the Roman Catholic Church. Her latest suit alleging sexual impropriety by a prominent priest has come to an abrupt halt with her death, and the prosecutor is claiming that Ramon, whose fingerprints are found on the murder weapon and her naked body, is guilty. Daley believes in Ramon's innocence and agrees to help him pro bono despite the archdiocese's suspicious insistence that they be his sole representation in the case. Incriminating evidence against Ramon continues to appear, including the possibility that the priest has fathered Maria's unborn child. As Daley moves from the drug and prostitution-ridden underbelly of San Francisco, where auto parts and offers of legal aid are exchanged for cooperation, to the tension-filled courtroom and the hushed offices of the church, it gradually becomes apparent that Ramon isn't the only character with a lot at stake in this intelligent, timely thriller.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Another year, another entry in the always-engaging procedural series starring the legal team of Michael Daley and Rosie Fernandez, whose partnership as lawyers, friends, and even lovers is stronger than the marriage they once had together. The ex-priest and his ex-wife face their most challenging case yet: defending longtime friend Father Ramon Aguirre in the murder of parishioner Maria Concepcion. Maria had been a lawyer, too, and was about to begin jury selection in a civil case against the San Francisco archdiocese regarding a now-dead priest's illicit sexual relationships with female parishioners. Maria was known as a competent lawyer, and although one would think she was conflicted about suing the archdiocese--she was, after all, a faithful churchgoer--Maria faulted the people at the helm rather than the faith. Father Aguirre, for his part, is considered a rogue, antiestablishment priest who never supported the archdiocese's arcane, patriarchal ways. Why, then, would they think he killed Maria? Mike and Rosie employ their stellar discovery and courtroom talents to get to the bottom of the twisted situation involving the movers and shakers of the San Francisco Catholic community. Once again, Mike and Rosie prove to be a duo that's fun to root for. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (August 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399152121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399152122
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (358 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #624,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sheldon Siegel is the New York Times best-selling author of seven critically acclaimed legal thrillers featuring San Francisco criminal defense attorneys Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez, two of the most beloved characters in contemporary crime fiction. He is also the author of the thriller novel The Terrorist Next Door featuring Chicago homicide detectives David Gold and A.C. Battle. His books have been translated into a dozen languages and sold millions of copies worldwide.

A native of Chicago, Sheldon earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign in 1980, and his law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California-Berkeley in 1983. He specializes in corporate and securities law with the San Francisco office of the international law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

Sheldon began writing his first book, Special Circumstances, on a laptop computer during his daily commute on the ferry from Marin County to San Francisco. A frequent speaker and sought-after teacher, Sheldon is a San Francisco Library Literary Laureate, a member of the national Board of Directors and the President of the Northern California chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, and an active member of the International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. His work has been displayed at the Doe Library at the University of California at Berkeley, and he has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Illinois and a Northern California Super Lawyer.

Sheldon lives in the San Francisco area with his wife, Linda, and their twin sons, Alan and Stephen. He is a lifelong fan of the Chicago Bears, White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks. He is currently working on his ninth novel.

Sheldon welcomes your comments and feedback. Please email him at For more information on Sheldon, book signings, the "making of" his books, and more, please visit his website at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts VINE VOICE on February 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First Sentence: "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned."

Attorney Mike Daley is a former priest. The night after seeing his friend Father Ramon Aguirre, Ramon is arrested on suspicion of murder. Ramon's friend and former lover was an attorney bringing a sexual harassment suit against the San Francisco Catholic archdiocese. Now the attorney has been found dead with Ramon's fingerprints on the knife and body. T

he Archdiocese wants Ramon to use their lawyer, but Mike isn't convinced they won't sell out his friend in order to save the Archdiocese from scandal and money. And who is responsible for the green Impala that seems to be following Mike?

Siegel does write interesting, enjoyable legal thrillers. It is a series I feel should be read in order to understand the characters and their relationships with each other, although the author does a good job of providing background for each of the main characters within each book.

Mike, the protagonist, is the narrator. You not only see the story unfold from his perspective but "hear" what's in his head as well as what he says aloud. This is both amusing and, occasionally, annoying and I would like to see more growth in the character.

I did enjoy seeing how Mike put the case together, the investigation behind it, the relationship between him and Rose; his ex-wife, law partner, mother of his children and now girlfriend. There are some great secondary characters and very good suspense.

I would say this is in the weekend/airplane read category, but there's nothing wrong with that.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By L. Quido VINE VOICE on November 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sheldon Siegel does it again, in his fifth and newest outing for San Francisco attorney and ex-priest Mike Daley. The book opens with Daley's confession to one of his best friends, priest Ramon Aguirre. Before it closes, Daley, Aguirre, and the normal cast of characters in a Siegel novel (Mike's ex-wife and law partner Rosie, their various relatives, "McNasty", the lead prosecutor in the DA's office, Banks and Johnson, a crack SFPD homicide team and the Catholic diocese of San Francisco) will come and go, but the bond between Mike and Ramon will grow due to Daley's defense of Father Aguirre in a murder trial.

In his investigation of what really happened to the victim, Siegel shares with us a slice of her life, in flashbacks - she's a close friend and former teenage fling of Aguirre's, and another fixture in the neighborhood, crusading attorney Maria Concepcion. In a pace too fast for many readers, Siegel introduces us to everyone of relevance in Maria's life, and one by one, eliminates them from the crime. The book, as in many of Siegel's former novels, climaxes in the courtroom, this time in a preliminary hearing. Of little help is the fact that Father Aguirre feeds the defense team information little by little, confirming the damning information about his relationship with the victim only after they have learned about it from the police. Although this fact is grating on the reader, Siegel's fans will be more than satisfied with a couple of characteristics of his writing, which have become his signature.

The first is Daley's mental corrections of nearly everything he says that is politically correct. When queried by the higher ups in the church's in-house legal counsel, "I trust you will provide full disclosure of all relevant information?"...
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bradley M. Matteoni on September 5, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A terrific mystery novel that will keep you turning the pages long after you should have tucked yourself in for the night. Smart, funny and completely enjoyable.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Sheldon Siegel's latest Mike Daley/Rosie Fernandez novel, "The Confession," focuses on a Catholic priest named Father Ramon Aguirre. Before he became a priest, Ramon dated a beautiful woman named Maria Concepcion. Twenty years later, Father Ramon presides over his congregation at St. Peter's in San Francisco and Maria is a lawyer. Although they are no longer romantically involved, the two remain close friends.

Maria is a tightly wound woman who is at war with the San Francisco Archdiocese. She has brought numerous suits against a number of Catholic priests for both sexual and financial improprieties, and although she has never won a case in court, she has been able to garner substantial settlements for her clients. She is currently involved in another high profile lawsuit, and this time she refuses to accept the archdiocese's generous offer. For a variety of personal and professional reasons, Maria is on edge and suffers from recurring bouts of depression. One night, after Father Aguirre visits a distraught Maria in her apartment, she is found dead with her wrists slashed. The medical examiner rules her death a homicide, and the police arrest Father Ramon. Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez are old friends of Father Ramon and they take his case pro bono.

"The Confession" is written in the first person from Mike's point of view. He constantly inserts sarcastic comments to give the reader his own take on whatever is going on. Sometimes these asides are amusing; often, they are irritating. Mike and Rosie face formidable obstacles, including nasty church politics and a client who has been less than forthcoming with his attorneys. They go to court with little confidence that they will be able to get Ramon off the hook.
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