Tag: Lisa Scottoline

One Perfect Lie

Author:  Lisa Scottoline
368 pages in Hardback

Published: April 11, 2017
Dates Read: June 14-28, 2017

My Rating: 4 stars

Description from Amazon:

On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.

But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.

Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he’s being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Jordan’s baseball games. But Jordan is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.

Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon’s wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them.

At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?

My Review:

From the first line of One Perfect Lie you know that Chris Brennan is a liar.  And because of that first line you know you are in for a roller coaster of a ride.  You won’t know who or what to believe:

Chris Brennan was applying for a teaching job at Central Valley High School, but he was a fraud.

Chris Brennan is the main focus of One Perfect Lie, but also involved in the novel are a few of his students and their families.  You know that it will all come together in some way, but you don’t know when or how. I don’t want to really say much about the plot other than the book description, as I don’t want to spoil the novel.  It would be best to go into the novel not knowing much about it.

The chapters are short, with many being just a few pages. This makes One Perfect Lie very hard to put down as you experience that “Just one more chapter!” feeling. I personally enjoy books like that as I am not the fastest reader and short chapters make me feel like I am reading the book quicker. In addition to the short chapters, there are three parts in the novel which are referred to as ‘steps’.  You will have to read it to find out why.  I went from thinking one thing about Chris in the first step then go in a full 180 in step two!

One Perfect Lie is a character driven novel and as Chris gets to know everyone you do as well and we are drawn into their lives and what might happen to them as the novel progresses. This is despite all the lies and secrets that everyone seems to have.

Everything leads up to a fast paced yet somewhat unbelievable conclusion.  For me, after the slow build up for the entire novel the conclusion seemed to come very quickly.  I did enjoy the novel and the many twists and turns that occurred throughout it.

One Perfect Lie was difficult to review without giving spoilers, but I have tried to do the best I think I can.  Lisa Scottoline is becoming an author I enjoy and I plan to read more of her novels.

One Perfect Lie is recommended.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending me a copy to review!

**And I just found out that today is Lisa Scottoline’s birthday! This review came in perfect timing! Happy Birthday Lisa!

Accused

Author: Lisa Scottoline
Audiobook

Published: October 29, 2013
Dates Read: May 23- June 9, 2017

My Rating: 3 stars

Book Summary from Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Lisa Scottoline revolutionized crime fiction when she introduced her Philadelphia-based all-female law firm of Rosato & Associates, thrilling listeners with her twisty, fast-paced plots and capturing their hearts with her cast of strong and relatable female characters. Now Bennie Rosato, Mary DiNunzio, Judy Carrier, and Anne Murphy are back with all cylinders firing in Accused.

Mary DiNuzio has just been promoted to partner and is about to take on her most unusual case yet, brought to the firm by a thirteen-year-old genius with a penchant for beekeeping. Allegra Gardner’s sister Fiona was murdered six years ago, and it seemed like an open-and-shut case: the accused, Lonnie Stall, was seen fleeing the scene; his blood was on Fiona and her blood was on him; most damningly, Lonnie Stall pleaded guilty. But Allegra believes Lonnie is innocent and has been wrongly imprisoned. The Gardner family is one of the most powerful in the country and Allegra’s parents don’t believe in reopening the case, so taking it on is risky. But the Rosato & Associates firm can never resist an underdog. Was justice really served all those years ago? It will take a team of unstoppable female lawyers, plus one thirteen-year-old genius, to find out.

My review:

Lisa Scottoline first introduced readers to Mary DiNunzio, Bennie Rosato, Judy Carrier, and Anne Murphy in her Rosato & Associates series and now she is back with a new series: Rosato & DiNunzio. The first in this series is Accused and Mary has just been promoted to partner.

I won a copy of Damaged( from Goodreads) which is the fourth in the series. Not realizing it was part of a series, I decided to go back and listen to the audiobooks of the first three in order.  I know a little about what will happen, so it gives me a different perspective going back and listening to the others on audiobook.  It seems to me that the series improves as I enjoyed Damaged more than Accused.  There seems to be growth with Mary as the series progresses, especially from the beginning of Accused to the conclusion.

I first want to say I have not read any of the Rosato & Associates series, so all of these characters are new to me.  I know I have missed their backstories (including the murder of Mary’s husband).  Rosato & DiNunzio is an all-female law firm and Bennie Rosato is the boss, but Mary has just been promoted to partner in Accused.  In the beginning Mary seems unsure of this promotion; she even does not want the stationary changed.  **This is a minor spoiler, as this happens early on, but Mary’s boyfriend proposes to her. She says yes, but is unsure on if she should have given that answer.

In Accused, Rosato & DiNunzio is hired by thirteen year old Allegra Gardner. Her sister Fiona was murdered six years ago, and despite the defendant Lonnie Stall pleading guilty, Allegra is convinced that he did not kill her sister. Rosato & DiNunzio take on the case with Mary in the lead.

For me Accused was decent.  I liked Allegra and wanted more of her in it. I also liked that she had a different type of hobby. Allegra is definitely a ‘different’ sort of girl.  I also liked that we had more of Mary’s family and her neighbors ‘The Tony’s’ in it.  They are definitely the comic relief in the novel.

I’m not sure what it is about Mary that I don’t really feel a connection with. I felt that same way when I read Damaged.  I think it might be her personality and the immaturity she has.  For me, she becomes too attached to the children involved in these cases, and that attachment is almost instant and it seems to cross professional boundaries. Again, this could be because I have not read the Rosato & Associates series and am missing her backstory.  I’m not sure of her age, but she doesn’t really seem like partner material and comes off as young, more like someone fresh out of law school.  She does experience personal and professional growth over the course of Accused, which I was happy about.

I was also not heavily drawn into this case. Yes, there is an answer to whether Lonnie Stall actually killed Fiona, but I was not intensely involved in the novel.  I would definitely say that this is more of a Mystery novel versus a Suspense/Thriller novel.

I did look to see that Betrayed, the second novel in the Rosato & DiNunzio  series focuses on Judy and the third, Corrupted focuses on the ‘big boss’ herself Bennie Rosato.  I will continue the series as I want to learn about these ladies, especially Bennie who is an enigma to me.

Despite the issues I had, Damaged is recommended.

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Damaged

Author: Lisa Scottoline
375 pages in Paperback

Published: August 16, 2016
Dates Read: May 8- May 20, 2017

My Rating: 4 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

One boy. One lawyer. One chance for justice.

Ten-year-old Patrick O’Brien is a natural target at school. Shy, dyslexic, and small for his age, he tries to hide his first-grade reading level from everyone: from his classmates, from the grandfather who cares for him, and from the teachers who are supposed to help him. But the real trouble begins when Patrick is accused of attacking a school aide. The aide promptly quits and sues the boy, his family, and the school district. Patrick’s grandfather turns to the law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio for help and Mary DiNunzio is on the case. Soon Mary becomes Patrick’s true champion and his only hope for security and justice. But there is more to the story than meets the eye and Patrick might be more troubled than he seems. With twists at every turn and secrets about the family coming to light, Mary DiNunzio might have found the case that can make her a true protector, or break her heart…

With Lisa Scottoline’s trademark emotional depth and fast-paced action, Damaged will have readers riveted to the last page as they root for the beloved characters and their fight for justice.

Review:

I won a copy of Damaged from St. Martin’s Press via Goodreads. When I entered in the giveaway I did not know that it was the fourth in Lisa Scottoline’s newer Rosato & DiNunzio series.  This series was preceded by the Rosato & Associates series. I enjoyed Damaged, and even though it is the latest in the series I feel I did not miss much, other than some background on the characters.

Damaged is my first legal thriller by Lisa Scottoline and it will not be my last. I will actually listen to the rest of the Rosato & DiNunzio series from the beginning on audiobook since my local library offers it. I have read several of Scottoline’s books and she is becoming a favorite author of mine.

Mary DiNunzio is the focus of Damaged who is a partner at her law firm.  She is to be married in two weeks. Her fiancé Anthony and the wedding are a minor plot point in the novel though there was more attention towards the end.  I will admit I wanted more of this plot point, but the book focuses on Patrick (a ten-year-old dyslexic boy) and the cases surrounding him.  The first case is about Patrick being accused of attacking a school aide.  His schooling and disability comes into play in this case.  There is also a twist that occurs and a second more important case comes about involving Patrick.  The attorney on the other side in the school case is Nick Machiavelli and you can’t help but love to hate him. I hope he makes appearances in the rest the series. He is quite the scumbag villain and I love a well written villain!

One issue I had with Damaged and this may be from not reading the rest of the series, but Mary became attached to Patrick too quickly for me; It seemed an almost instant connection/attachment.  This could just be the kind of person Mary is or Patrick is just a boy you can’t help but instantly love. She advocates for Patrick very well and has his best interests at heart. She truly wants to help him.

I also liked John.  At first I did not like him, but we get to know him as Damaged progresses.  I hope he is central to future novels if he has not been a focus in the previous books in the series.

I loved Mary’s extended family!  They are an Italian family and are hilarious.  They are a comic relief and it was a welcome as at times this is an emotionally charged novel.  I hope they are in more of the Rosato & DiNunzio series.

I did notice that the books in the series follow the alphabet so far:

  1. Accused
  2. Betrayed
  3. Corrupted
  4. Damaged
  5. Exposed (To be published August 15, 2017)

It appears that Scottoline may be going the ‘Sue Grafton route’ with the books in this series following the alphabet.  Will she have 26 books in this series? Time will tell!

Damaged is recommended.

***Thank you St Martin’s Press via Goodreads for my copy of Damaged. It was a pleasure to read and I will be starting the series from the beginning in audio next!

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