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|
Publication Order of Standalone Novels
|The Simeon Chamber||(1987)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The List||(1997)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Critical Mass||(1998)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
About Steve Martini:
While there are a great many authors of legal thrillers and courtroom dramas on the New York Times Bestsellers list, Steve Martini is perhaps one of the most prolific, and certainly one of the most well-liked of them all. With his pithy yet engaging style and his unmatched ability to create and sustain tension-filled plotlines, Martini is without doubt a master storyteller. However, it can easily be argued that his real pull with the reading populace comes from his solid understanding of the nuances and intricacies of American jurisprudence, which lends his works an air of authority and that crucial touch of realism that all readers of legal dramas look for.
A Childhood Amidst the Dead
Steve Martini was born in San Francisco on February 28, 1946, to Ernest Martini, a lifelong rancher, and his wife, Rita. Steve spent the first decade of his life in a small town just south of San Francisco, known as Colma. Cheerfully regarded as the West American equivalent of the Valley of the Kings, Colma was originally a small, rural town but soon came to serve as a necropolis for the overburdened populace of San Francisco. Beginning in the early 1900s, cemeteries began to mushroom up around the town and before long Colma grew to be a veritable city of the dead. Indeed, the town’s entire economy was based on the business of burial, and virtually every living resident was involved in the industry in one way or another. It must have been a truly dismal place for a young boy to grow up in, and in 1956, the family moved further south to Los Angeles County, where his father continued to run and manage ranches, while his mother took up a post as a librarian.
A Passion for Writing
As a young boy, Steve focused primarily on his education, graduating first from San Gabriel Mission Grammar School, and later from San Gabriel High School. Steve then went on to college, enrolling as a freshman at Pasadena City College. However, he soon transferred out to the more prestigious University of California at Santa Cruz, where he studied political science, graduating in 1968 with a BA in Government.
After completing his undergraduate degree, Steve began to explore his passion for writing with a career in journalism. He moved to Los Angeles and accepted a post as a reporter for the Los Angeles Daily Journal, which is a niche newspaper that focuses on legal news and information pertaining to California in general, and Los Angeles in particular. It was the ideal job for the budding legal student, as it combined his interest in political science with his unparalleled skills as a writer. He certainly excelled at his work, and in 1970 he was granted the coveted position of being the paper’s first Capitol correspondent. Over the next few years, he reported primarily on legal and political news, and was soon promoted to the newly created position of Sacramento Bureau Chief.
The Law Takes Hold
It was during his tenure as Bureau Chief that Steve began to seriously entertain thoughts of embarking on a career in law. He kept his day job as a journalist, but he began attending night school at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law, graduating in just a few short years with a law degree. He passed the Bar the next year in 1975 and gave up his promising journalism career for one in private and civil law. As with everything else he touched, Steve Martini found success in his new field and over the next several years, he gained an unimpeachable reputation as a highly skilled attorney, whose knowledge of the finer points of law was genuinely astounding. Apart from a lucrative practice, Steve served in a number of public roles as well, including acting as special counsel for the California Victims of Violent Crimes Program.
Of Simeon, Madriani, and More
Steve Martini excelled at the practice of law, but he still remained passionate about writing and in his spare moments, he turned his hand to crafting his first legal thriller, entitled The Simeon Chamber, which was first published in 1987. This first novel was followed four years later by the first installment in Martini’s famous Paul Madriani series, Compelling Evidence. It instantly received critical acclaim, and Martini went on to write eleven more books in the series, the latest of which, Trader of Secrets, was published in 2011.
While Martini has written a few stand-alone novels, including The List and Critical Mass, he is best known for his Madriani novels, which center on the personal and professional life of Paul Madriani, a private attorney whose life has been thrown into turmoil following an ill-advised affair with his mentor and boss’ wife.
The Madriani Novels
The first novel in the series, Compelling Evidence opens just after Paul has been fired from his position at the prestigious law firm run by his mentor, and finds the erstwhile attorney scrounging to make a living as an attorney in private practice, while simultaneously trying to win back the affections of his estranged wife. His life is made even more complicated when the sudden murder of his ex-boss and mentor forces him to defend the man’s wife, his ex-mistress, when she finds herself accused of the crime. With his razor sharp perception and legal genius, Paul Madriani deftly uncovers the shocking identity of the true killer against the background of a sharply paced, tense courtroom drama.
Encouraged by the sensational success of Compelling Evidence, Martini decided to continue with the Madriani character in his next novel, Prime Witness, which was published in 1993, a bare year after its forerunner was released. In this second installment, Madriani finds himself investigating a series of six brutal killings in Davenport, California. Confronted with an enemy from his past and the possibility of having two separate suspects for the crimes, Paul is forced to untangle a sinister web of legal intrigue to arrive at the truth.
With the release of the next two books in the series, Undue Influence and The Judge, Steve Martini became firmly established as one of this generation’s leading authors in the genre of legal fiction. In fact, his work is so popular that these two particular novels were each made into a miniseries for television. However, his work is not without its share of critics. While his writing is generally praised for its legal intricacies and courtroom scenes, many critics regard his style as inconsistent, marked by strongly crafted passages interspersed with cheesy, almost campy scenes.
Regardless of these criticisms, Martini’s novels, in particular the Madriani series, continue to hold a great deal of popular appeal and Martini’s fans are truly legion. And if the recent success of his latest Madriani novel, Trader of Secrets, is anything to go by, Martini is sure to enjoy his commercial popularity for many years to come.