Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shadow of a Doubt (Charley Sloan, #1)” as Want to Read:
Shadow of a Doubt (Charley Sloan, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Shadow of a Doubt (Charley Sloan #1)

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  2,086 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
Detroit attorney and former alcoholic Charley Sloan lost his practice, his wife, and his fortune to booze. A chance at a comeback arrives in his former lover, Robin Harwell. She's now the desperate widow of a multimillionaire--and stepmother of the teenage girl charged with his brutal murder. 
Damned by forensic evidence, witness testimony, a history of mental problems, an
Paperback, 416 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1991)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Shadow of a Doubt, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Shadow of a Doubt

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Connie  Kuntz
Jan 04, 2010 Connie Kuntz rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers, people who remember the 1990's
Recommended to Connie by: My Mama
Shadow of a Doubt was written by a 61 year old man in 1991. In other words, this book was written in the era of fingerprints and answering machines, not DNA and cell phones. It was written in an era of nosey book writers, not the (current) era of of bloggers and electronic newsfeeds. It was written several years before the O.J. Simpson "trial of the century", before "acquit" was a common word and before corruption became as publicly disgustingly sophisticated as it is today (e.g. Enron, Hallibur ...more
Todd Simpson
Apr 20, 2016 Todd Simpson rated it it was amazing
There is something that is so appealing about a floored character, that as a reader I really like. For me it gives the character depth, and makes them more appealing, and you just can’t help but like them. Charley Sloan fits into this category perfectly. A recovering alcoholic, survived three marriages, and has previously ridden the wave of success as a defence attorney. Now all of that is behind him, and he now need to now prove himself again. Robin and Angel Harwell turn up and need his help, ...more
A really good character driven legal drama featuring a recovering alcoholic who had been a big time lawyer in Detroit but has now been reduced to trying to eke out a living as a small town attorney. The first person narration was very engaging and the plotting was quite well done.
Lois Duncan
Feb 24, 2011 Lois Duncan rated it liked it
If you enjoy courtroom dramas, (which I do), this is a good one.

Two negatives: (1) It was written in 1991, so is very out of date in terms of technology. Not the author's fault, of course. But it dates the book tremendously. (2) I anticipated the "surprise ending" by the time I was a third way into the story. I kept reading anyway, in the hopes that I might be wrong and there would be a sudden unexpected twist. There wasn't.

Still, I enjoyed the book.
Susannah Carleton
Nov 29, 2016 Susannah Carleton rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars. Great story with a terrific main character that readers will like because he's an ordinary guy, just doing his best. The story is tightly plotted and well told, with a number of intriguing plot twists and turns.
Beverly E. McWhirk
A Good Read

Although this was a little slow moving at times, I enjoyed the story and the character development was very good. I can't wait to start book 2 in the series.
Kirk Erickson
Oct 14, 2016 Kirk Erickson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't wait to see how it all ended!

I read a lot of books and would recommend this one to anyone who likes a story with twists and turns. Truly a good read that keeps your interest straight through till the end!
Mar 13, 2017 Anna added it
Shelves: mystery
Jolie Bain
Sep 30, 2016 Jolie Bain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poignant tale reminiscent of old school detective stories.

I liked the flawed humanity of the main character, battling an addiction along with several subplots that could lead to his destruction. Well written to create the film noir atmosphere of an entertaining mystery.
Montse Reyor Black
Éste es el título de la novela de William Coughlin quien, en esta ocasión, nos narra la historia de Charley Sloan, un abogado desempleado que está embargado en mil problemas. Después de su tercer divorcio, Sloan ha decidido dejar el alcohol y tratar de reiniciar su vida, aunque con muchas dudas sobre poder conseguirlo. Sin embargo, un día recibe un caso: debe demostrar que una joven de 21 años es inocente del asesinato de su padre. Ansioso de dinero y viendo que su cliente es millonaria, decide ...more
Sep 10, 2016 Pixmender rated it it was amazing
I have only gotten about a third of the way through this book, and already I know a 5-star rating is in order. William J. Coughlin is one of those writers for whom one is always seeking (for long periods, at times, without success); one of those writers who makes you feel giddy with delight after reading one chapter, knowing you have stumbled upon an absolute treasure!

Browsing through offerings on Kindle Unlimited, I tried this book, a totally random choice. I do this frequently because I know i
Aug 05, 2016 Judi rated it it was amazing
This was a great book that I could not put down, if you like courtroom drama, this would be for you. Though an early book - in the 1990's, it was a great read.

Charley Sloan, was a prominent lawyer, money, cars, houses and wives. But due to his drinking problems, he lost it all. He just works small cases but makes a living and attends AAA meetings trying to keep his drinking at bay.

Charlie is approached by a former girlfriend, Robin Harwell, who is now rich. She wants him to represent her step-da
Jan 14, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
I've had three Couglin used paperbacks on my shelf for a long time now. I can't remember where/when/why I got them nor why I'd never read any of them... So looking for my next read, I snagged the first one. They are legal mysteries and this one started off slowly but at about the point where I usually make the decision to keep reading or toss, I realized he had me hooked. Charley Sloan is a washed up attorney who's career was tanked by alcoholism... He's hired for a huge case and starts to muddl ...more
Diane Saul
Apr 17, 2016 Diane Saul rated it really liked it

Charley Sloan is a former high priced very successful attorney. Now he is a down on his luck recovering alcoholic. He has his chance at redemption when an old girlfriend hires him to defend her step-daughter. The step-daughter is accused of stabbing and murdering her father. Charley is definitely the underdog in this battle with the DA, and the DA sees it as a golden opportunity that has dropped in his lap that will further his political ambitions. This is a great story, well written with intere
Jul 03, 2016 Ron rated it really liked it
Charlie Sloan is a down and out attorney barely able to keep afloat in the Detroit suburb of Pickeral Point, Mich. Attending AA meetings to keep from slipping back into a troubled past of alcoholism, failed marriages and ruined reputation, Sloan is surprised one day by the request of a former high school classmate to represent her stepdaughter charged with the gruesome murder of her wealthy father. What follows is a fascinating story of family dysfunction, obsessive behavior and courtroom drama ...more
Apr 21, 2016 CL rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A three times divorced recovering alcoholic whose law career is in the tanks now needs to pull himself up by his boot straps and start over. An old flame hires him to defend her step-daughter who has been accused of murdering her father. This is his chance to start over. Written in the era of no technology it dates the book but is still an interesting read especially if you are old enough to remember those times. A lot of plot twist and turns a great page turner. Will read more by this author. G ...more
Susanne Curran
Oct 18, 2016 Susanne Curran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As Scott Turow said on the cover "A Good Read"

Well I would have to say it was more than a good read. I looked forward to reading a little each night. As the story developed I couldn't put it down. I read all day today and into the evening. It's now 1AM and I am writing this review with one eye open. It was a wonderful legal thriller and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. I did find some misspellings that changed the meaning of a sentence, but that is an editing flaw that did not
Jun 20, 2016 Tulay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Courtroom drama.

This is not typical courtroom drama, lawyer Charlie Sloan is recovering alcoholic. His conversations with himself are very honest, he doesn't blame his problems to anybody but himself. Angel and step-mother characters won't be liked anybody, clues about their relationship are given from the beginning. It was very easy for me to guess the ending. But surprise at the ending really made me very happy. Will be reading the next book.
Barbara Billeter
Aug 19, 2016 Barbara Billeter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book will keep you guessing.

Well written . Interesting. If you like murder ministries and court room drama, this book is for you. The characters are well developed and challenging to figure out. The attorney's personal struggles with alcohol keeps you guessing will be or won't be be able to stay sober. I loved this book!
Nov 23, 2016 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lawyer, alcoholic, money, compassion.

Oh Charley Sloan, you're a smart guy. Heck being almost disbarred because of your affair with the bottle should have made you wiser. You're a sweet guy, trying to always do the right thing for people. When millions are involved it's time to keep your eyes open wide. Money is the root of all evil right?
Juledith L Marshall
Highly enjoyable

Really enjoyed reading the first installment of the Charley Sloan series. It was a fast paced read that made me laugh at times and gasp out loud. The author created a quick witted funny and likable character. I was rooting for him all along. Can't wait to dig into the next story.
Pam Davis
Apr 16, 2016 Pam Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good!

The only part of the book that was hard to get though we're too many chapters devoted to the decision to be the lawyer on this case or not. I really like Charley and rooted for him all the way through. That is a strong character and is critical to be able to like what you're reading. Good characters. Strong plot, good book.
Glenn Altman
Oct 08, 2016 Glenn Altman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Startling and satisfying

The writing is good, not great, but certainly very good.
However, the story and characters are great! Enough twists and turns to keep every mystery/suspense reader reading. Populated by characters who are complete even if seriously flawed.
Ends with a twist so unexpected as to be startling yet one which I found satisfying.
Just finished the first in another series
I feel sure I will enjoy Charley Sloan 1#
the first book had me hook from the first page what makes this book terrific is the author having been a involved
in the law business himself i would agree with all the other readers reviews below couldn't put it down and a real page turner
Joanne R. Merola
Great read but who proofreads Mr. Coughlin's books?!

Love the story and character but typos abound! I am reading another one, Death Penalty, and there's even more typographical errors. Not to nitpick but I type for a living and I would be out of a job if I handed in work this sloppily typed.
Timothy Adkins
Sep 18, 2016 Timothy Adkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rate this book a 5star because I could not put it down except to go to the bathroom. I love the suspense , and the quirky ending. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense.

I rate a 5 star because it held my attention throughout. I loved the quirky ending . I would recommend to any one who likes suspense.
Linda Poppen
Jul 13, 2016 Linda Poppen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Page turner

I wonder who is going to clean my house since I read this book instead of cleaning. Kept me riveted. It has many, varied, interesting characters. I never knew where the next page would take us. Great ending and opens the door for more from this lawyer. I love a good "who done it". Especially love surprise endings
Roy Parfitt
Sep 14, 2016 Roy Parfitt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read... makes you think by MAKING you think.

I solved it three quarters of the way through... can you? His legal explanations and instruction will benefit the reader in future court room dramas.
Sep 06, 2016 BonusMom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very very good mystery

This is a very well written book with excellent characters and a story line that doesn't stop. It's not action packed but if you are looking for something to keep you guessing, then this is the book for you. This will keep you turning pages. LOVED it.
Sandra Ash
Jul 31, 2016 Sandra Ash rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Excellent book I read the book at record speed did not put it down only to sleep. Excellent characters. Learned a bit more of trials, witnesses lawyer's and the law. Knew he was being set up, but not how . Want to read more from this author.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Simeon Chamber
  • In the Shadow of the Law
  • Follow the Money
  • Murder in Havana (Capital Crimes, #18)
  • Eye Of The Beholder
  • The Outside Man
  • Breach of Trust
William Jeremiah Coughlin (1929-1992), former defense attorney and judge in Detroit for twenty years, was the author of sixteen novels. He lived in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan with his wife, Ruth, an author and book critic.

Also wrote under the pseudonym of Sean A. Key.
More about William J. Coughlin...

Other Books in the Series

Charley Sloan (4 books)
  • Death Penalty (Charley Sloan, #2)
  • The Judgment (Charley Sloan, #3)
  • Proof of Intent (Charley Sloan, #4)

Share This Book

“We are all mental cases at some time or another. You are, I am, everybody. It's usually a matter of frequency, severity, and timing.” 0 likes
“The drive to Mount Clemens took a half-hour, but for me it was a very long thirty minutes. Until I reached the interstate the roadside saloons seemed to call out to me like the sirens who sang to Ulysses, sweetly luring him to destruction, only I wasn’t strapped to a mast. I wished I were. It had been months since I’d been afflicted by such a demonic need to drink. But” 0 likes
More quotes…