I am one of those readers who can't start a series at the second or third book. I have to read them in order if I know previous books in the series exist. First Case was written after the first book in the McRyan mystery series but I hadn't discovered the author yet, so I started with the first short story.
What I liked: Since I had no expectations and short stories are well, short; I really enjoyed the background on the protaganist, Michael McRyan (known as "Mac"). I had never read any books by Mr. Stelljes and First Case gave me a sampling to see if I should continue.
All of this came about because the third book in the series came to my attention as a free Kindle deal, before I rush in to obtain a free book, I now do my homework. I went crazy with free offerings when I first received my Kindle and was very disappointed in some of my book deals. Now, I research before I click the "get it free" button.
Mac is written as a very idealistic character but extremely savvy. (He also has a law degree, which the book explains why he's not a lawyer. He's extremely smart and picks up on the slightest clues. The thing I enjoyed most was the characters thought process and sense of fairness. In addition, Mac is a bulldog when he gets the bit between his teeth.
I also really enjoyed the secondary characters, Mac's partner, Richard Lich (Dick Lick) and the Police captain and commissioner are solidly behind their cops.
What I didn't like: It's hard to find something in such a short book not to like especially if the author is halfway decent writer. So, yeah, I just enjoyed the book.
I'm extremely glad I read First Case before starting the series as the background on Mac and his thought process is critical to the series.
Recommended - start with this one before the first full length novel, The St Paul Conspiracy.