HarperCollins, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, Audio, e-Book
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Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
isa Scottoline has done it again. Her fifteenth novel,
, is as good as it gets. She's produced a work that will keep readers gasping and guessing all the way through.
ary DiNunzio is back. She is approached at her law office (Rosato & Associates) by the woman who was her nemesis in high school. Where Mary was the ideal student, Trish (called
by her detractors) was the
Head Mean Girl
. Now Trish needs Mary's help. Trish's live-in boyfriend, Bobby Mancuso, has been physically abusing her and has threatened to kill her. Says he has a big surprise for her tonight - her birthday. Fearing her refusal of a marriage proposal will set him off, she wants Mary to stop him. What's a lawyer to do? And still stay within the confines of the law.
hen both Bobby and Trish disappear, the worst is feared. This is where the action really picks up with gusto. Most of it takes place in and around South Philly, an area that Scottoline knows well, and of which she writes so well. The reader can almost smell the cheese steaks frying and hear the red gravy simmering in the pot. And the good Italian wine – ah, yes, I'll have a second glass, please.
umor plays a big part in the story. Nothing is so bad that it can't be leavened by a small slice of a smile. The situations Mary finds herself in remind her that neighborhoods are a very big family. Please one member, you please them all. Cross one and you've created new enemies. One truth Mary never forgets. When things get rough, the place to be is with her feet under her mother's dinner table. Nothing beats a mother's love or her cooking. And when a love interest pokes through the turmoil, even that has a comedic slant. It's a true pleasure to read a book by a master craftsman.
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