Sheldon Siegel. The Confession (2004) 353 pp.
Publisher’s description: “San Francisco criminal defense lawyers Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez need a confession—but they get much more. Mike Daley hasn’t gone to confession much since he left the priesthood twenty years ago and became a lawyer, but that doesn’t stop his old friend and seminary classmate, Father Ramon Aguirre, from trying to get him there. ‘It wouldn’t kill you to go to church every once in awhile,’ he says. But it does kill someone. For several months, a ruinous sexual harassment suit has been building against the San Francisco Catholic Archdiocese, and when Maria Concepcion, the plaintiff’s lawyer, is found dead, an apparent suicide, an almost audible sigh of relief is heard in certain quarters. But that is before the police find evidence of murder. Even worse—the evidence pointes to Father Aguirre, who has become a popular and benevolent figure in San Francisco’s historic Mission District. Mike and his ex-wife law partner, Rosie Fernandez, jump in to take Father Aguirre’s case, but what starts out as difficult quickly becomes impossible as forensics, witnesses and secrets in Father Aguirre’s past all appear to incriminate their client. The Archdiocese has its own lawyers, and they want Mike and Rosie off the case. Soon, Mike’s and Rosie’s wits are the only things keeping Father Aguirre from a life sentence or worse, and that may not be enough, unless they can conjure up a miracle of their own.”