Publication Order of Paul Madriani Books
|Compelling Evidence||(1992)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Prime Witness||(1993)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Undue Influence||(1994)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Judge||(1996)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Attorney||(1999)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Jury||(2001)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Arraignment||(2003)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Double Tap||(2006)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Shadow of Power||(2008)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Guardian of Lies||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Rule of Nine||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Trader of Secrets||(2011)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Enemy Inside||(2015)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Second Man||(2015)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Blood Flag||(2016)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Paul Madriani is the fictional main character and usual first-person narrator of a series of best-selling suspense novels by Steve Martini.
Madriani is a criminal lawyer (sometimes trying civil cases, however) with powerful investigative skills. He is tasked throughout the series with unraveling complex plots presented to the reader while trying to bring cases to a successful conclusion. Supporting characters include Madriani’s law partner and friend, Harry Hinds (whom Steve Martini has described in interviews as somewhat of an alter-ego), who appears throughout the series. His estranged wife, Nikki, appears in two books, having died by the third. His daughter Sarah appears in a number of the novels as well, usually in a minor role until 2011’s *Trader of Secrets*. In the earlier books, he lives in Capital City, California (Sacramento) and in 1999’s *The Attorney* moves to San Diego. In addition, various supporting characters, such as investigators who work with and for Madriani, occasionally cross over novels.
Paul Madriani is first introduced in 1992’s *Compelling Evidence* as a former corporate lawyer working solo cases after an having an affair with his former firm’s senior partner’s wife, leading to his dismissal. Ben Potter, the senior partner who had been cuckolded, has an otherwise sterling reputation leading to nomination as a Justice to the Supreme Court. On the eve of the nomination, however, Potter is found dead of an apparent suicide. As the investigation switches from a suicide to suspicion of murder, Talia, Potter’s widow and Madriani’s one-time lover reaches out to him to act as her defense attorney. Desperate for cases (Madriani’s firing left him looking for cases on his own with only marginal success) up against a District Attorney eager to convict Talia Potter and push for the death penalty, in the midst of his own crumbling marriage, Madriani is nearly overwhelmed throughout the first book with a high-profile case placing him under a microscope while having to successfully defend the woman intimately involved in the spiral of his own self-destruction highlighted throughout the book.
While originally intended to be a one-off novel, *Compelling Evidence* was such an immediate success commercially and critically that the Paul Madriani series continued with 1993’s *Prime Witness*. In his second book, Madriani, now somewhat successful as a criminal defense attorney is tapped as special prosecutor and tasked with finding a serial killer, when he realizes more than one killer may be involved.
Madriani is almost always the narrator in most of his books; occasionally third-person omniscient is found at the outset of the novels. Madriani finds himself deeply involved with the cases, working alongside detectives and his partners to not only successfully defend and prosecute cases, but also investigate or direct investigations himself. Madriani is occasionally involved with the clients he is representing or characters related to cases. At times characters who have personally caused problems for Madriani need his help later, as in *Compelling Evidence* or 1996’s *The Judge*, where a formerly hostile judge finds himself accused of murder and turns to Madriani to clear his name.
Steve Martini took a break from writing Paul Madriani books after *The Judge*, writing two other novels in the interim; subsequent books, starting with *The Attorney* (2000) not only move the character, but his law partner, family and firm further south to San Diego (due to a windfall brought by a victory in a civil case) so that Madriani can pursue a romantic relationship. The move allows for both recurring characters from Madriani’s past to be involved in stories as well as new characters, while the civil victory leaves Madriani considerably more mobility, which becomes necessary in later novels.
The first three books of the Paul Madriani series establish a number of characters in Paul Madriani’s personal life, and the character extends outward in future books. In the first four books, Madriani generally deals with complex, but generally localized mysteries. Later novels, however, find Madriani dealing with increasingly dangerous and explosive cases, often leading the country’s highest offices, as well as international intrigue. Paul Madriani novels are largely courtroom dramas (the earlier ones play out largely in the courtroom, with essential background material picked up around the cases), but increasingly shift towards more widespread locales throughout the series. Further books continue raising the stakes involving international travel for the character, dealing with everything from finding serial killers to drug cartels and Cold War conspiracies. In *Guardian of Lies* (2009), Madriani finds himself in the middle of a complex case which uncovers a potential nuclear assault on the United States, which he manages to avert shortly before the event takes place. The last three books mark a substantial shift from courtroom to dark suspense.
Madriani is frequently the target of assassination attempts. In *The Attorney*, Madriani suspects he has been directly targeted for murder. A number of enemies are picked up during the Madriani series, but there is no apparent nemesis until the introduction of “Liquida”, a Mexican assassin who was involved in some of the events in *The Attorney*. He appears in later novels and is the focus of 2011’s *Trader of Secrets*, where Madriani’s interference in some of Liquida’s plans have turned the assassin against Madriani and his family. By the events of *Trader of Secrets*, Madriani’s daughter Sarah is being moved from safehouse to safehouse, although she is eventually captured by the assassin. Liquida is revealed to be driven by a desire for revenge: Madriani’s investigations stopped a number of events in which Liquida could have profited sufficiently to retire, and he holds Madriani personally responsible.
Two Paul Madriani books have been turned into successful two-part TV miniseries, both of which were based upon the earlier novels. *Undue Influence* premiered on CBS in 1996. In it, Madriani is played by Brian Dennehy and Laurel Vega was played by Patricia Richardson. NBC’s *The Judge*, in which Paul Madriani was played by Chris Noth, and Edward James Olmos as Judge Acosta. The latter miniseries received a good deal of contemporary negative commentary by critics, who seemed largely to take issue with actor Chris Noth, who was on the cast of *Law and Order* (and to which the miniseries was unfavorably compared at the time) although *The Judge* was an Edgar Award Winner the following year for Best TV Feature or Miniseries. Both miniseries are available online and on DVD.Book Series In Order » Characters » Paul Madriani