Lisa Scottoline is back at it again with a Rosato & Associates novel, this time featuring Mary DiNunzio as the lead character. The novel starts off with Mary becoming partner in the law firm. Her first client as partner is Allegra Gardner, a highly excitable and intelligent girl who believes that the man sentenced for the murder of her sister six years earlier is innocent of the murder. She wants Mary to prove this. Allegra and her case immediately strike a nerve with Mary, both because of her relationship with her sister and the way her first husband was murdered. Mary’s personal life is undergoing upheaval as her boyfriend proposes marriage to her, and Mary is filled with doubt. To further complicate matters, her best friend Judy doesn’t believe they should take the case and ultimately begs off of it. Despite all of this, Mary tackles the case with bulldog tenacity in order to get justice.
The basic framework of the novel is good. I like the case that is presented and how they go about investigating it. Although Mary is a good character, and her backstory is worthwhile to include, I think where the novel falls short is that there’s almost too much of Mary’s life and it slows the book down. I think a little less of that would have helped it. I also think there was too much of Mary’s father, who became a bit annoying by the end. Taking those aspects away, I found the book enjoyable, but they prevent this from being one of the better Rosato novels.
Carl Alves – author of Blood Street