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10 Best Steve Martini Books (2024)

Best Steve Martini BooksA Journalist, Lawyer, and Writer

Steven Paul Martini is an old-timer writer who is best known for his legal fiction novels. The writer was born in 1946 in the province of San Francisco, California. He spent the first ten years of his life there, in the Colma region of Daily City. They lived outside the city as his father was a rancher. His lineage was a part of a populous Italian-American family whose roots traced back four generations in California. 

After graduating from the Political Science program of the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1968, the author’s first occupancy was journalism. He worked as a newspaper reporter for one of the largest legal news mediums in the United States, the Los Angeles Daily Journal. He trained to be a lawyer as he worked there and he would go on to work as one both privately and as part of public agencies.

Almost Instant Success

Martini wrote his first manuscript for a novel, The Simeon Chamber, in the mid-1980s which was bought by a publisher almost instantly and published in 1987. After his initial publication, the author’s works would regularly be included in the New York Times bestsellers list. Some of his works have also been made into mini-series with one of them being produced by CBS and the other by NBC.

Best Steve Martini Books

Paul Madriani Series


The Paul Madriani Series is the most iconic work of Steve Martini without a doubt. The first book of the series was published in 1992 and it was the second ever work of the author to be offered to the public. The series is made up of fourteen novels so far along with a rather lengthy novella. The fifteenth piece was expected to be published in 2022 but we do not even have a publication date for it as of yet.

Compelling Evidence


Written as a Real Person

The first place of our article will go to one of the best selling Steve Martini books out there which is also the first book of the Paul Madriani Series, Compelling Evidence. The book introduces us to the California defense attorney Paul Madriani whose most eye-catching qualities are his always-calculating mind and quick wit. The most notable thing I can say about him is that he is written as a real person rather than a likable one. 

At the start of the story, Paul is being bombarded by the consequences of having an affair with the wife of his close friend and colleague Ben Potter. The fact that Ben was the owner of the law firm he works in does not make things easier as Paul loses his job as soon as the news gets out. While he is trying to get used to these major changes in his life, he is put in an even weirder situation when Ben calls him for a meeting. 

Time of Great Turmoil

As he later on learns, Ben is on the course to get a place on the higher courts and he wants Paul to help him in the way. Paul agrees without wasting any time as he is eager to get any part of his life together but his boat is rocked once again when Ben is found dead not long after. As the story of this one of the best Steve Martini books progresses, Paul finds himself further involved in the case of his old friend’s death.

Prime Witness


The Putah Creek Killer

Prime Witness, which is another one of the most popular Steve Martini books, is going to be the second book that we will talk about in this article. It is the second book of the Paul Madriani series and it takes into hand a wholly different chain of events from the first one. In it, the defense attorney is sent to Davenport after two sets of killings take place in the span of just five days. 

The protagonist is tasked with finding out who the killer is as the special prosecutor. He must find this murderer who has been tagged as “the Putah Creek Killer” and he must do so before things get any more heated. He is thankfully able to find his first suspect with the help of the local police force, a college security guard who has been on the court for multiple charges of murder before this event. 

Murderer on the Run

Paul realizes his task might be harder than he first expected when he meets with the suspect’s defense attorney only to find out that he is Adrian Chambers, an old rival of his. The worst of it all is that it is quickly made clear while his suspect is irrefutably linked to the first set of murders, someone else is responsible for the rest. This high-stakes story makes this piece a strong contender for the best Steve Martini book title. 

Undue Influence


Unfortunate Turn of Events

We are carrying on with our article and the third piece I will be introducing to you is going to be one of the best rate Steve Martini books, Undue Influence. In this piece, we finally get some clues as to the main character’s past. That is not the only thing it provides us with as it also carries a high intrigue story with a storyline as elaborate as a spider’s web. 

This book mainly revolves around the sister of Paul’s ex-wife who passed away a while ago. The sister in question, Laurel, is caught in a dirty battle against her former husband for the custody of their two children. However, that is not the worst part of this story. Laurel is understandably named the prime suspect when her ex-husband and his new trophy wife are murdered.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Laurel’s case is a hard one to defend as she has more than enough motivation to possibly commit the crime and she does not have any solid evidence to prove otherwise. It also does not help that the main cop looking over the case is not really a fan of our bellowed defense attorney. This book in the best Steve Martini book series might just be its most tense one. 

The Judge


Fighting Among the Ranks

Continuing on with our Steve Martini books ranked article, The Judge will be the fourth piece we are going to take a look at. It provides us with a very unique story as it mainly revolves around a conflict between government organs. The conflict I am talking about happens between the generally unliked judge Armando Acosta and a group of corrupt policemen involved in a systematic plot. 

At the start of the story, Armando is running a grand jury investigation to expose the bad cops. However, he is taken off his temporarily when he is arrested on a rather suspicious charge of solicitation. Things take a turn for the worse when the decoy in the arrest is found dead which threatens the whole career of the judge. This is when he goes to one of his least-liked attorneys, Paul Madriani, for help. 

One Way to Win

The further Madriani gets involved with the case, the more he realizes how ruthless the people he is dealing with are. His only chance to prove the innocence of the judge is to find the real murderer and so, he is put in the middle of everything once again. His efforts to expose the killer by going after the only missing detail in the case makes this book a decent nominee for the title of best Steve Martini novel. 

The Attorney


One of Madriani’s Most Challenging Cases

We are at the halfway point of our article and the fifth one among the Steve Martini books that I have in order for you is The Attorney. This piece resembles the first book in the Paul Madriani series as it does not concern itself with the attorney’s life and focuses completely on the case that he is working on. Still, that is for a good reason. The Attorney provides us with one of the most challenging cases in the series. 

Similarly to Undue Influence which we went over previously, the main conflict in the story of this piece is a custody battle. Only this time, it is a much more revolting one. Jonah Hale is an old man in not the best state of his life and he has been taking care of his granddaughter Amanda since her mother gave into her drug addiction and abandoned her. 

Bad Daughter

The mother, Jessica, has no problem whatsoever with abandoning the responsibilities of being a parent until she finds out her father has won the lottery. She now wants to get the custody of her daughter back along with a fat payoff. When she can not get what she wants easily, she shows her true colors. Thanks to her, this addition to the best Steve Martini series gives us one of the most disturbing characters that the author ever wrote.

The Jury


Looking Suspicious

Next up on our Steve Martini book reviews list, we will be talking about the sixth book of the Paul Madriani series that is The Jury. Unlike the self-explanatorily titled The Judge, this piece does not tell us the story of a member of the Jury as its title might lead you to think. Instead, it revolves around the brilliant scientist Dr. David Crone.  

Crone is a well-known and respected research physician who is one of the leading voices in the mapping of the human genome. The reason he needs a lawyer is that a young colleague of his has been found brutally murdered and dismembered, and he is the key suspect. It does not help his case that the murdered woman has filed charges of sexual harassment against him.

Something Fishy

Given this, and some other very convincing details, Madriani is suspecting if his client is in fact guilty. Nonetheless, he spares no effort to defend Crone properly despite the secretive attitude of his other colleagues. This piece introduces us to a Madriani who severely doubts his client and gives us one of the best books by Steve Martini in the process. 

The Arraignment


A World of Crime

The Arraignment is the seventh of the Paul Madriani books in chronological order and it will be the last book in the series that we will talk about. I would like to state that this is not because the rest of the books are worse than the ones I included in the list but only because I also wanted to mention some of his other works. 

A lawyer friend of Paul’s falls victim to a large-scale shooting along with his client at the time. Set out to find the murderer of his dear colleague, Paul takes on the case of a man whom he thinks was involved in the shooting. While he deals with the moral dilemma of serving his client and seeking justice, he finds himself in a world of crime

High-Action Story

His case takes Paul all the from California to the Guatemalan border and inside Mexico. There, he must deal with wicked people who have no problem killing others for money and international drug dealers who are basically the top dogs of the region. This high-action story makes up for one of the best Steve Martini novels that you can read.

Critical Mass


More Focused on the Mystery

We are done with the Paul Madriani series and the eighth piece that I am going to introduce to you in this article will be the latest Steve Martini standalone book, Critical Mass. Still, it was published in 1998 which I would not exactly say is recent.  It is also a legal thriller but it gives us a story filled with much more mystery than his other works. 

This piece revolves around an L.A. public defender named Jocelyn “Joss” Cole who has been burned out for a long time. She lives in the quiet San Juan Islands of Washington and her only clients are a group of commercial fishermen. One day, she is visited by Dean Belden who wants to set up a business in the region and needs a lawyer to do so. 

Lost Weapons

Strange events take place from thereon and just within days, Dean dies in the explosion of his float plane. In the meantime, the nuclear fission expert Gideon Van Ry is investigating the loss of two tactical nuclear weapons when he comes across the name Jocelyn Cole. Thus, the story of the new Steve Martini book begins unfolding. 

The List


Two Hands is Better Than One

We are nearing the end of our Steve Martini book list and The List is going to be the second last book we will be checking out. This legal thriller explores a story that caught my attention from a mile away. In it, an unknown writer by the name of Gable Cooper writes a novel that produces six million dollars in book and movie rights even though he does not exist. 

Abby Chandlis is the one who stands at the heart of this story and she is the one who makes up the persona of Gable Cooper. The young attorney knows that selling books is all about charming people and she uses the face of a failing writer, Jack Jermaine, as the face of her suspense-filled legal thriller. Jack has the wits and charisma to just make this absurd idea work. 

How The Tables Turn

It all goes fine in the beginning but things get more complicated when the popularity of Jack and “his” new book launches through the roof. Soon enough, the lawyer Abby finds herself both seduced and trapped by the very thing she created. The controversies that arise from this one-of-a-kind controversy put The List among the best Steve Martini novels. 

The Simeon Chamber


Just Out of Boredom

We have finally reached the end of our article and the last piece that I have included in it is another one of the top-rated Steve Martini books, The Simeon Chamber. As you might remember from the beginning of the article, this piece was published in 1998 and it is the first piece that the author ever wrote. It is also one of his most interesting ones as it features very unusual events.  

The protagonist of this story is Sam Bogardus who is the law partner of an old love interest that has long turned platonic. Sam is bored by both his personal and work life which leads him to take the case of the “elegant” Jennifer Davies. Davies’s father had died in a Navy blimp crash and he left a priceless document to his daughter.

Suspenseful Story

As the duo is fighting to get the document that rightfully belongs to Davies, they discover it is an excerpt from the 16th-century explorer Sir Francis Drake’s lost diaries. This means two things; it is a literal treasure, and people may go to any lengths necessary to make it their own. This suspenseful story makes a strong contender for the best Steve Martini book title. 

Final Thoughts


I am not really a big fan of legal fiction as I do not really know much about law. However, I enjoyed the work of Steve Martini nonetheless. He builds up his stories in a way that makes them comprehensible even for a reader like me. He also uses characters with clear motives that you can either relate to or understand the reasoning behind. Steve Martini is a brilliant writer who exceeded all my expectations.

Robert Hazley

Robert is a science fiction and fantasy geek. (He is also the best looking Ereads writer!) Besides reading and writing, he enjoys sports, cosplay, and good food (don't we all?). Currently works as an accountant (would you believe that?)