Lisa Scottoline was a trial lawyer before turning to writing full-time. She won the prestigious Edgar Award for her second legal thriller, Final Appeal. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.
Former trial lawyer Scottolines legal thrillers (Legal Tender, LJ 7/96; Rough Justice, LJ 8/97) have earned her the Edgar Award and an enthusiastic following. In this latest adventure of Philadelphia attorney Bennie Rosato, Bennie has a week to prepare a homicide defense in a death penalty case for Alice Connolly, who claims to be her lost twin. Then a man named Winslow appears, saying he is her father. Bennies shrewd investigative work convinces her that they are indeed family. Thrown off balance by thinking as a daughter and sister instead of a lawyer, she regains her equilibrium to reveal a police conspiracy and bust a corrupt judge. Scottoline deftly sketches her courtroom characters, and prison is so well described that readers are in there with Alice. A rare false note is the too-frequent presence of swarming news crews and in-your-face reporters. In the end, Bennie learns that family is about love, not blood, and the poignant and powerful relationships that render her vulnerable boost this mystery well above the norm. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/98.]Molly Gorman, San Marino, CA
Praise for Rough Justice: 'A wonderfully engrossing, sometimes hilarious thriller that will delight courtroom junkies and cement her standing as the female John Grisham' People Magazine 'Her skill as a novelist makes her plot sizzle with cliff-hanging intensity' Publishers Weekly 'Scottoline clinches her title as the distaff Grisham with this gorgeously plotted novel based on a trial lawyer's worst nightmare' Kirkus Reviews Praise for Legal Tender: 'Fast paced and witty crime thriller... Scottoline has produced a royal flush' San Francisco Examiner
Double jeopardy is more than just a legal term in this taut and smart courtroom drama by Edgar Award winner Scottoline. Bennie Rosato, the irrepressible head of an all-female Philadelphia law firm, moves to center stage after playing a supporting role in the author's previous novel, Rough Justice. Bennie's client is tough, manipulative Alice Connolly, charged with murdering her police detective boyfriend, who may or may not have been a drug dealer. Complicating matters is Alice's claim to be Bennie's identical twin sister and to have been visited by their long-lost father. Despite her wrenching emotional reaction to this revelation and her mother's deteriorating health, Bennie puts her personal and professional life on the line, immersing herself in the case. She enlists the aid of her associates, Mary DiNunzio and Judy Carrier, as well as Lou Jacobs, a cantankerous retired cop she hires as an investigator. They discover that a web of corruption may have enveloped the prosecuting attorney and judge who are now trying Alice's case. Scottoline effectively alternates her settings between prison, law office, courtroom and the streets. Readers familiar with her previous work will enjoy the continuing evolution of the characters' relationships. Judy is still the bolder of the two associates, her experiences highlighted this time by an amusing venture into the seamy world of pro boxing. But Mary, until now a timid and reluctant lawyer ("Maybe I could get a job eating"), emerges from her shell. Scottoline falters occasionally by resorting to ethnic stereotypes, particularly in her dialogue, but generally succeeds in creating a brisk, multilayered thriller that plunges Rosato & Associates into a maelstrom of legal, ethical and familial conundrums, culminating in an intricate, dramatic and intense courtroom finale. Agent, Molly Friedrich. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Mar.) FYI: Mistaken Identity is one of the six books excerpted in Diet Coke's marketing campaign.