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Charley Sloan Books In Order

Publication Order of Charley Sloan Books

Shadow of a Doubt (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death Penalty (1992) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Judgment (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Proof of Intent (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The American author William J. Coughlin was an extremely popular and highly regarded writer during his lifetime. Focusing on law and order, largely in courtroom settings, he was to utilize the thriller novel for the majority of his writing career. With a number of stand-alone titles published over his the course of his career, along with both the Cain titles, he became an extremely prestigious novelist, but it was perhaps the character of Charley Sloan that was his most enduring. Set in the high-flying legal world, these Detroit based novels work at capturing the fast pace of working in such a profession. A former alcoholic, the attorney Charley Sloan is not without his own demons, though, as he precariously navigates this environment. Dealing with many of his own personal issues, he also has to manage his day-to-day life alongside his ever hectic work-life.

There’s four titles in total in this series from William Jeremiah Coughlin, himself a former judge and attorney in Detroit. It is this working history of his that really shines through in the series itself, as it comes through with accuracy and realism. Adding to that, his characters are also extremely well drawn, providing a set of characteristics that are universally easy to relate to.

Shadow of a Doubt

Initially published in 1991, this was first brought out through the St. Martin’s Paperbacks publishing label. Marking the original entry into the Charley Sloan series of books, this is the title where readers are introduced to him for the first time. Establishing the world and the premise, it also provides him with his first case to deal with, thus providing the reader with and intriguing gateway into his world.

The practice of law and the understanding of it is something that weighs heavily upon this series and franchise as a whole. With it being an important factor in the life of William J. Coughlin, it’s managed to create to create an entirely positive impact upon his work. Setting up many of the themes and ideas contained within the series, its a great way of setting not only the rules of the environment, but the characters themselves. The location itself is very well realized as well, with it being almost fully three dimensional in terms of the overall narrative. Perfectly capturing the essence of Detroit, it manages to take Coughlin’s knowledge of the area and apply it to the characters and action within. This is something that the long-time readers of the series have really come to admire about it, as it comes to life leaping off the page. In regards to Charley Sloan himself he is an astute and gifted individual, but not without certain flaws and demons. Whilst he understands the inner workings of the law he must contend with his own past, primarily his being a former alcoholic. Dealing with the cases in hand he must come to terms with his limitations, whilst simultaneously fighting for both truth and justice.

Similar to the 1995 adaptation of the same name this sees Charley Sloan hoping to make a comeback, regaining his home, wife and legal practice. Then there’s Robin Harwell, his former lover, who might just be offering him this much sought after second chance. Recently widowed to a multimillionaire she’s looking after a teenage daughter who has been charged with his murder. Will he be able to find the real culprit? Can he ever hope to get a second chance? What will become of him when he faces the law within a shadow of a doubt?

Death Penalty

Brought out through the St. Martin’s Paperbacks publishing house once again, this continues on directly from the last title. Released on the first of October back in 1992, this was published just one year after the first, providing another case for the eponymous attorney. Further developing the narratives and the story, it manages to build upon the tone and the overall ambiance of the world.

Carrying on with a lot of the same ideas as before, this manages to develop the series thematically as a whole far than previously. Not only is Coughlin’s understanding of law and the legal system still impeccable, but the framework he puts it into is also extremely substantial too. With grand ideas of truth and justice prevailing, these themes will always ring universal to a worldwide audience. Setting itself in the city of Detroit once again, it really utilizes its location well, getting a true sense of scope for its surrounding environment. As much a character as that of Charley Sloan himself, it manages to draw the personality of the city out in the action. Coughlin really has an affinity with the city, as evidenced in his writing on it, along with his detailed descriptions. Charley Sloan is still the same as before, struggling with his day-by-day demons and trying to keep himself on the straight and narrow. Developing the character over the course of the series is something that Coughlin came to be highly regarded for and that is clearly evident here. Continuing the story, he’s able to craft a unique and extremely iconic protagonist in Charley, one that will be remembered for a long time to come.

Seemingly at the end of his ropes, Charley Sloan must this time deal with the nefarious Doctor Death. With his patients seeming to constantly die under mysterious circumstances, it appears that he has his work cut out for him. Not only that, but it seems that corruption is soaking through the system at every level, leaving him to contend with his once respected mentor. Will he get to the bottom of the case? Can he uncover the truth behind the lies? Who will face the death penalty?

The Charley Sloan Series

With highly intricate and extremely tightly woven narratives and plots, his plots are very well detailed whilst not becoming convoluted. The characters he portrays are also very well established over the course of the novels, however incidental they may be to the plot itself. It is, however, the leading protagonist of Charley Sloan himself that is perhaps his most enduring personality to date. Developing over the course of each novel he manages to remain engaging and never once gets bogged down by the more soap-opera like elements that could potentially hamper such a franchise. Always keeping his characters true to themselves they never stray from their original intention of telling a gripping and exciting story. With an enduring legacy that will last for some time to come, plenty of readers will be following these stories for many years to follow.

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