Thursday, December 14, 2017
Books

Review: 'The Alligator Man' by James Sheehan thrills to the very end

There are plenty of people who would like to murder Roy Johnson.

The "gazillionaire" was the former "CEO of Dynatron, a major energy company... that employed over twenty thousand people." Johnson left it in shambles, and its employees shafted, when he cashed out with a hundred million dollars.

Trophy wife in tow, he has retired to solitary splendor in the fictional small Florida burg of Gladestown, on the edge of the Everglades. Then one night he takes a tipsy walk down a road through a gator-filled swamp — and doesn't come back.

Johnson thus becomes the title character in James Sheehan's fourth novel, The Alligator Man. Sheehan is a former trial lawyer who now directs the Tampa Law Institute at Stetson University College of Law in Tampa and lives in St. Petersburg, and he brings plenty of expertise and a dry sense of humor to this deft legal thriller.

Johnson's wife reports his absence to Carlisle Buchanan, "the sheriff's man in Gladestown." He's a laconic, resourceful native who knows both the mangrove swamps and the local residents like the back of his hand. Carlisle proceeds to conduct an investigation, much to the annoyance of the detective sent to do so.

Meanwhile, Miami lawyer Kevin Wylie has lost his job at a big but sketchy law firm, and his girlfriend has dumped him. He heads to the Panhandle — St. Albans, home base of Dynatron — for a possible reconciliation with, or at least interrogation of, his dying father, whom he hasn't seen since Dad, also a lawyer, abandoned him 28 years ago.

Carlisle's case and Kevin's concerns will merge and lead to the novel's centerpiece, the trial of the man accused of murdering Johnson.

The courtroom action is compelling, but what Carlisle is up to down in the Glades will have a major impact on the case as well. And Sheehan keeps the surprises — some scary, some bittersweet — coming to the very last page.

Comments
Harry Potter’s Nymphadora Tonks, Natalia Tena, joins A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter’s Nymphadora Tonks, Natalia Tena, joins A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando

The bubble gum pink-haired, shape-shifting witch Nymphadora Tonks from the last four Harry Potter films is headed to A Celebration of Harry Potter next month.Natalia Tena marks her first appearance at the annual wizarding world celebration Jan. 26-28...
Updated: 5 hours ago
What’s Ginger Zee reading?

What’s Ginger Zee reading?

NightstandGinger ZeeZee, 36, is the chief meteorologist at ABC News. In her newly released memoir, Natural Disaster: I Cover Them, I Am One, the Rockford, Mich., native details her multiyear struggle with depression and her life in the limelight. "It...
Published: 12/14/17
Notable: 50 years ago

Notable: 50 years ago

Notable50 years agoThese three books document some of the events of the cultural watershed that was 1967.Ali: A Life (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Jonathan Eig is the first complete biography of boxing icon Muhammad Ali, who in 1967 refused to be dr...
Published: 12/14/17
Review: Kevin Young gives readers the truth about ‘Bunk’

Review: Kevin Young gives readers the truth about ‘Bunk’

We live in the age of the hoax.Believe me.And if you don’t believe me, believe Kevin Young, author of the sometimes disturbing but always fascinating new book Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News.In it, Yo...
Published: 12/14/17
Uber Eats is delivering 'free' chicken McNuggets across Tampa Bay

Uber Eats is delivering 'free' chicken McNuggets across Tampa Bay

You'll still have to pay the delivery fee, but the 10-piece McNuggets are free.
Published: 12/13/17
What to watch this week: New season of ‘The Librarians,’ Gwen Stefani’s Christmas special

What to watch this week: New season of ‘The Librarians,’ Gwen Stefani’s Christmas special

MondaySEASON FINALE: The Gifted, 9 p.m., Fox: The team at Mutant HQ is divided on what to do next after Jace is forced to hand over something valuable to Dr. Campbell.Disney's Fairytale Weddings: Holiday Magic, 8 p.m., Freeform: A behind-the-scenes l...
Published: 12/11/17
This week’s pop culture winners and losers: Tonya Harding edition

This week’s pop culture winners and losers: Tonya Harding edition

WINNERS: Tonya Harding The once disgraced Olympic figure skater is no longer on thin ice in the pop culture world. Harding joined Margot Robbie, who is playing her in the upcoming film I, Tonya, on the red carpet this week. While Harding pleaded g...
Published: 12/08/17

Book events: Victorian Christmas Event, Cheryl Hollon launch party

Book TalkCheryl Hollon (Etched in Tears) will appear at a launch party for the new book in her Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series at 2 p.m. Dec. 10 at Books at Park Place, 10468 Roosevelt Blvd. N, St. Petersburg.William Valentine (Cuban Charade) will s...
Published: 12/07/17
Mahaffey Theater cancels Garrison Keillor performance after sexual misconduct allegations

Mahaffey Theater cancels Garrison Keillor performance after sexual misconduct allegations

The Mahaffey Theater has canceled an upcoming performance by Garrison Keillor in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against the former host of A Prairie Home Companion.Keillor was to perform in St. Petersburg on Feb. 5, but the show's promo...
Published: 12/06/17
Review: History’s ‘Knightfall’ will please fans of epic history, popular culture

Review: History’s ‘Knightfall’ will please fans of epic history, popular culture

Sometimes a Templar Knight dies in your field and you have to return his master sword to the temple in Paris, because God's kingdom depends on it.All that happens to Parsifal (Bobby Shofield) in the first episode of History's new period drama Knightf...
Published: 12/06/17