BETRAYED by Lisa Scottoline

November 25, 2014

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A Rosato & Associates Novel

After taking a few years off to write standalones, Scottoline relaunched her popular Rosato & Associates series in 2013 with Accused, and continues here with Betrayed.

Judy Carrier’s best friend, Mary DiNunzio, has been made partner and is planning her wedding, and Judy is feeling a bit out of sorts about it all. Her live-in boyfriend Frank is driving her crazy, leaving her to wonder about a future with him.

When her Aunt Barb is diagnosed with breast cancer, Judy has to deal with that and her deteriorating relationship with her mother. Aunt Barb’s closest friend is a Mexican illegal immigrant who dies of an apparent heart attack, but Judy finds her death suspicious, especially after finding a large stash of money squirreled away in her aunt’s house.

Meanwhile at work, boss Bennie has dropped a huge caseload of damages claims on Judy, and she finds a rather surprising solution to her dilemma.

Scottoline writes terrific legal fiction with warm, smart characters and lots of humor and heart, adding additional depth to her stories. Her legion of fans will be happy with Betrayed, and should find her new readers as well.

Copyright ©2014 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association.

11/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

BETRAYED by Lisa Scottoline. St. Martin’s Press (November 25, 2014). ISBN 978-1250027702. 352p.

THE JOB by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

November 23, 2014

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Fox and O’Hare Series, Book 3

If you weren’t sure that Evanovich could go darker, this book should resolve that issue. This is the darkest book so far in the series, but it speaks more to the level of suspense than actual violence or gore.

Kate O’Hare is an F.B.I. agent who is working off the books, so to speak, with Nick Fox, international con artist and thief. She caught the “Fox” and he escaped jail by agreeing to use his con artistry to help her bring down bigger and badder criminals. Case in point, drug pin Menendez, who had his face altered via plastic surgery, then killed the surgeon & the surgical team, so no one alive knows what he looks like or where he is.

Fox figures out a way to smoke him out, which involves conning him with a treasure map. Fox and O’Hare get their team together to convincingly portray an underwater find that is just the bait to trap this dangerous man and his killer security agent/girlfriend.

The violence is hinted at rather graphically, but that just ups the suspense making this a real page turner. But no worries, there is still quite a bit of humor and of course, the sexual tension between Fox and O’Hare adds another layer of fun to this read. Another excellent addition to the series, which has become one of my favorites.

11/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE JOB by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg.Bantam (November 18, 2014). ISBN 978-0345543127. 304p.

HOUNDED by David Rosenfelt

September 17, 2014

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This is the twelfth entry into one of my favorite series featuring attorney Andy Carpenter. I fell in love with this character in the first book, Open and Shut and have loved every book since.

Andy gets a phone call from one of his closest friends, police captain Pete Stanton. He asks Andy to hurry over and to bring Laurie. They arrive at a home with multiple cop cars out front and when Andy hears a dog barking, he knows why he was called. Turns out a friend of Pete’s has been killed, leaving his young son and his dog behind. Pete not only wants Andy to take the dog, he wants them to take the kid too, in hopes of keeping him out of the system.

Andy feels like a kid himself but Lauri agrees and then things get really complicated when Pete is arrested for the murder. Andy thinks Pete is being set up, and all the regulars are there to help – Laurie, his long time girlfriend, and an ex-cop turned private investigator; Marcus, top notch security; Hike, a lawyer who helps out Andy when he takes a case; Sam, the accountant and computer hacker extraordinaire; and Willie, an ex-con who partners with Andy and runs their dog rescue foundation.

This is a complicated case, and Andy definitely will need more than his usual courtroom antics to keep Pete out of jail. Someone with a lot of money and a lot of reach is trying to have Pete discredited and jailed. The more they dig, the deeper they get into something really sinister until the shocking ending.

Hounded is a fine addition to the series. If you like legal thrillers, or dogs, or humor along with your murder and mayhem, don’t miss it.

9/14 Stacy Alesi

HOUNDED by David Rosenfelt. Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (July 22, 2014). ISBN 978-1250024749. 3208p.


June 23, 2014

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In this follow up to last year’s Corrupt Practices former child star turned attorney Parker Stern is still facing the same crippling stage fright that has him avoiding the courtroom. But when a famous video game designer reaches out to hire him, Parker finds it impossible to say no.

Poniard is the anonymous entity behind Abduction!, a game that proposes to make the player the investigator in the unsolved disappearance of actress Felicity McGrath. In the game, Poniard accuses well-known Hollywood personality William Bishop (aka William the Conqueror) of killing McGrath and now faces a libel suit in return. When Parker finds out that his ex is prosecuting, he agrees to take on the defense even when his fears about appearing in the courtroom start to seem minimal compared to the danger he faces in taking on William Bishop.

The tangled web of Hollywood happenings, cults, and courtroom drama makes Rotstein’s series a standout in thrillers (legal or otherwise).

Parker Stern is intriguing in that he has a tendency to attract danger in spite of everything. Here he is actively avoiding trial by working for a group that aims to settle disputes before getting as far as a courtroom, when he’s dragged not only into a courtroom battle but one that pits him against a man who is by all accounts completely ruthless. And why does he agree? First because of a woman and second because his new client threatens to expose a secret Parker has been trying to hide most of his life: that he is the once famous child star Parky Gerald.

Parker’s “Parky” persona is a big part of the plot of Corrupt Practices and I would definitely suggest reading that one before diving into its sequel. Both books are well worth it as Rotstein has a knack for clever storylines and engaging character development. I should note, though, that the Parker Stern series is so far a fairly dark one. There are elements in both novels that likely will not appeal to fans of cozier tales.

6/14 Becky Lejeune

RECKLESS DISREGARD by Robert Rotstein.  Seventh Street Books (June 3, 2014). ISBN 978-1616148812. 352p.


June 4, 2014

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Assistant U.S. attorney Nick Davis, in a moment of weak parenting, decides to take his teenage daughter, Lizzie, along to a possible grave site search in the woods. In a nice departure from the usual teenage girl angst, Lizzie is mature, kind, and has a close relationship with her father.

Nick doesn’t expect to find anything on this, but a body is found, and the bird watcher who reported it is killed. A couple of drug dealers are the main suspects, but the story twists even further when more bodies turn up. As the case unravels, he starts to suspect even some of his own co-workers, and then real paranoia sets in.

In a bizarre twist, his most ardent opponent, a pugnacious defense attorney, becomes his sounding board and counsel. Nick has always put his faith in the justice system, but this case truly tests him, and he finds himself re-examining his own beliefs and those of almost everyone around him.

Goodman is an attorney and easily makes the transition to fiction writer, like brethren Scott Turow and John Lescroart.

Copyright ©2014 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association.

2/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

INDEFENSIBLE by Lee Goodman. Atria/Emily Bestler Books (June 3, 2014). ISBN 978-1476728001. 368p.

THE GODS OF GUILT by Michael Connelly

January 13, 2014

This is the latest entry in the Lincoln Lawyer series, but fear not, Harry Bosch is lurking around the fringes. Mickey Haller is a great character, and I loved the tongue-in-cheek references to the Lincoln Lawyer movie. Yes, Mickey has had his life turned into a film, causing enough lawyers to start practicing out of Lincoln Town Cars to create some humor with Mickey hopping into the wrong car on more than one occasion.

Connelly is not known for writing humorous mysteries, and the humor pretty much ends there. An online pimp calls Mickey asking for help; he’s been accused of murdering one of his girls. Turns out Mickey knew her and had tried to help her get out of the life. He believes the pimp and agrees to defend him. This case is not as simple as it seems; a drug cartel is involved, along with the inherent violence there, and some of the unusual twists that Connelly excels at.

The courtroom is where it always ends up with this series, and again, Connelly comes through here, interweaving testimony with legal strategies and great character development. The title “Gods of Guilt” refers to the jury, and I find it fascinating to see all the legal machinations in motion; I always feel like I’m learning something. 

This was fast reading, one night, as I couldn’t put it down. Another excellent read from the master of crime fiction. If you’d like a taste, Connelly has posted an excerpt here.

1/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE GODS OF GUILT by Michael Connelly. Little, Brown and Company (December 2, 2013). ISBN 978-0316069519. 400p.