Books by Perri O’Shaughnessy

Pamela and Mary O'Shaughnessy are sisters who write together. The name Perri is an amalgam of their names, Pamela and Mary, and an homage to Perry Mason, the popular fictional attorney created by Erle Stanley Gardner. Mary was born in Northern California

DREAMS OF THE DEAD by Perri O’Shaughnessy
Released: July 12, 2011

"Feisty, funny Nina engages as always, but this is as much a romance novel as it is a thriller, which means, of course, occasional stretches of no-man's land."
This time out, attorney Nina Reilly's nemesis is a defunct ex-client who might be more alive than dead. Read full book review >
KEEPER OF THE KEYS by Perri O’Shaughnessy
Released: Nov. 7, 2006

"There's the usual O'Shaughnessy overplotting, but without the saving grace of a certain sharp, tough, yet sweetly feminine protagonist. Won't you come home, Nina Reilly?"
Nina Reilly gets a rest, and everybody else gets seriously overworked. Read full book review >
SINISTER SHORTS by Perri O’Shaughnessy
Released: Jan. 31, 2006

"Uninspired, with a kind of dreary familiarity."
From the writing team of the O'Shaughnessy sisters (Unlucky in Law, 2004, etc.), a collection of stories more gloomy than sinister. Read full book review >
UNLUCKY IN LAW by Perri O’Shaughnessy
Released: July 13, 2004

"After solid performances in their most recent efforts, the O'Shaughnessys stumble here."
In her tenth outing (Presumption of Death, 2002, etc.), lawyer Nina Reilly contends with an importuning Romeo, two would-be Romanovs, and a riot of runaway plot lines. Read full book review >
PRESUMPTION OF DEATH by Perri O’Shaughnessy
Released: July 29, 2003

"Generous heart, steel-trap brain, elegant looks: great fun to read about."
Counselor Nina Reilly keeps on keeping on. And getting better. Read full book review >
UNFIT TO PRACTICE by Perri O’Shaughnessy
Released: Aug. 6, 2002

"An idealistic lawyer staggers under the weight of legal and ethical charges you can be certain will never stand up in court. Nina's eighth may be her most irresistible to date."
Now that she's survived divorce, betrayal, romantic disappointment, and heaven knows how many attempts on her life, what's the worst that can happen to Lake Tahoe attorney Nina Reilly? The threat of disbarment, of course. Read full book review >
WRIT OF EXECUTION by Perri O’Shaughnessy
Released: July 10, 2001

"The O'Shaughnessy sisters (Pamela and Mary writing as Perri) are shameless overplotters, but give them a courtroom they can cut and slash in, and they entertain with the best."
More trials—of the heart, too—for Lake Tahoe attorney Nina Reilly in the O'Shaughnessy sisters' seventh legal potboiler (Move to Strike, 2000, etc.). Read full book review >
MOVE TO STRIKE by Perri O’Shaughnessy
Released: Aug. 15, 2000

" For the rest, the forensics and legal procedure are solid, the characters, from the heroine on down, as arrested in adolescent attitudes and relationships as ever. Your move."
A 16-year-old accused of killing her remote, though nearby, uncle brings Tahoe attorney Nina Reilly her latest overripe case. Read full book review >
ACTS OF MALICE by Perri O’Shaughnessy
Released: July 13, 1999

The O'Shaughnessy sisters writing team (Perri is the pen name for Pamela and Nancy) produces its best courtroom thriller to date. When champion skier Alex Strong goes hurtling off a cliff, his death is ruled accidental. Days later the coroner reverses himself, and suddenly Jim Strong, Alex's brother, is up to his ski bibs in problems, because as far as the South Tahoe PD is concerned, Jim was the last to see his brother alive. And now the coroner is insisting that some of Alex's injuries weren—t related to his fall. Beleaguered Jim does what troubled people in South Tahoe are getting used to doing: he turns to Nina Reilly for help. Nina, who has steadily garnered a reputation as the toughest, most resourceful criminal attorney in the area (Breach of Promise, 1998, etc.), is at first convinced of her new client's innocence. On the other hand, his father, sister, and wife seem not to be. Nina begins to worry: Is she defending a clever psychopath or is he, rather, the unlucky, unloved product of a dysfunctional family—a gallant, blameless survivor? And she has other, distinctly nonlegal worries. Does Assistant District Attorney Collier Hallowell represent merely a sexual itch? Or are her feelings for him deep enough for a life beyond scratching? In the meantime, evidence continues to mount against her client, who continues vehemently to proclaim the existence of a conspiracy. There's a climactic courtroom battle, a ferocious clash of wills, and a slick bit of legal maneuvering that would have won the day for Nina if the fates had been kinder. Still, the villain does get his—in a denouement that meanders a bit along the way but is a smash when it finally arrives. The O'Shaugnessys are too readily—and almost always unwisely—drawn to bathos. Nina, however, is likable enough to save them from their sins. ($300,000 ad/promo; author tour) Read full book review >
BREACH OF PROMISE by Perri O’Shaughnessy
Released: June 12, 1998

What looks like Lake Tahoe attorney Nina Reilly's most routine case—a palimony suit with millions in the balance—takes a startling turn in this inventive, misshapen legal thriller. Why shouldn't he move on? wonders exercise-equipment mogul Mikhail Markov. He's had 20 good years with his wife Lindy, and now he's gearing up for another 20 with Rachel Pembroke, his beauteous Vice President in Charge of Financial Services. Spurning his penny-ante offer of a million bucks, Lindy finds she's out in the cold: Mike kept all the company's assets and all their private property in his name alone, and no wonder, since Lindy's not really married to him. In fact, as Nina finds after she's already committed herself to the case, Mike's still kept a Separate Property Agreement in which Lindy long ago signed away her claims to any community property. So what does Nina have? Experienced palimony co-counsel Winston Reynolds, hotshot jury consultant Genevieve Suchat, 20 years of Mike's living with Lindy as man and wife, and all the evidence she can muster of Lindy's contributions to the business that bears Mike's name. It doesn't look like much, especially when Nina's confronting Mike's fire-breathing sharpie Jeffrey Riesner across the courtroom. But suddenly what ought to be an orderly, if turbo-financed, civil suit blossoms into murder. And although the O'Shaughnessy sisters (Obstruction of Justice, 1997, etc.) have duly provided tableaux of Lindy wielding knives and handguns, most readers will be surprised by both the actual weapon and the victim. Unfortunately, the novel pays a big price for its thunderclap: The murder investigation that closes it out manages to be at once shriller, sillier, more drawn-out, and more predictable than the legal thrust-and-parry that led up to it. Maybe the best way to read Nina's fifth case is to knock off halfway through, as Mike Markov undoubtedly wishes he'd done too. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1997

Third, and weakest, in a legal procedural whodunit series featuring Lake Tahoe attorney Nina Reilly from the O'Shaughnessy sisters writing team. Taking up a few days after Invasion of Privacy (1996) ended, Reilly accompanies rugged but haunted prosecutor Collier Hallowell for what the two hope will be a romantic trek to the top of Mount Tallac, only to fall in with the dysfunctional de Beers family, whose presence on the mountain seems anything but recreational. A storm brews, and Hallowell and Reilly witness nasty Raymond de Beers, the president of a well-known but shoddy Lake Tahoe construction company, blown off the peak into their path and killed, seemingly by a bolt of lightning. After the unsatisfying inquest, which raises more questions than answers, Reilly recommends that Hallowell, who suspects foul play, hire her former lover p.i. Paul Von Wagoner to find whatever clues about the killing the Tahoe police could not. Meanwhile, Reilly is approached by domineering family patriarch Quentin de Beers, who also thinks that Raymond was somehow murdered. Reilly begins to believe that Raymond's death may be linked to the hit-and-run murder of a local woman. But the O'Shaughnessy team forces that intersection very awkwardly, compelling their disbelieving characters to lecture each other on Jungian synchronicities, the relationship between reality and art, and cosmic parallels to Greek myths. Before the mystery can be solved, others will die, and Reilly and the increasingly obsessed Hallowell will find themselves on opposite sides. The novel falls apart, like one of the badly constructed de Beers houses, in a cliff-hanging climax in which all the apparent bad guys are revealed to be good, and a method is offered that, in theory, would make lightning a murder weapon capable of striking the same place more than once. Forced, unconvincing characters and vastly overheated plotting, with some sharp, if predictable, courtroom scenes and an impressive knowledge of forensic pathology. Read full book review >
INVASION OF PRIVACY by Perri O’Shaughnessy
Released: Aug. 1, 1996

The plot-soggy sequel to this sister-writing team's debut legal procedural (Motion to Suppress, 1995) further muddies the waters of feisty lawyer Nina Reilly's Lake Tahoe past. Suffering physical and psychological scars from the shooting that concluded her previous trial, Nina thwarts the Sweet family's attempt to suppress filmmaker Theresa London's sleazy documentary about the 12-year-old disappearance of their teenage daughter Tamara. While waiting in Nina's office, London, a lynx-clad femme fatale with all the requisite screws loose, coyly suggests to Nina's 11-year-old son, Bob, that he find his biological father. Bob asks for help from p.i. Paul von Waggoner, who is about to ask Nina to marry him. Paul finds Kurt Scott, an expatriate former Tahoe forest ranger and Nina's first lover, playing Bach fugues in Germany. Something more than nostalgia brings Scott back to Tahoe, where he is arrested after fleeing the scene of Terry London's murder, Terry's garbled, dying videotaped confession suggesting that Scott fired the rifle that killed her. The authors have enough respect for legal ethics to have Nina at least question the numerous conflicts of interest before deciding to defend her former lover. But the plot is made even more cumbersome when Scott, having seen Terry's documentary, breaks out of jail and locates Tamara Sweet's remains. Then Nina discovers that her brother, Matt, who takes tourists parasailing on the lake, may be involved in Terry's murder. Savoring their novel's resort setting, the O'Shaughnessys offer glimpses into the kinky lives of a casino showgirl, a burned- out hippie guitarist, and his monster-truck driving son. Occasional outbursts of droll humor relieve Nina's lugubrious concerns about what effect so much twisted melodrama will have on her son. Overplotted, then, and frequently silly, though redeemed by local color, screwball dialogue (``first we make love, then you won't take my calls''), and grimly realistic insider stuff about lawyers at their best and worst. Read full book review >
MOTION TO SUPPRESS by Perri O’Shaughnessy
Released: June 16, 1995

Legal suspense thriller from first-time sister-writing team O'Shaughnessy draws to an inside straight in the demiworld of Tahoe gambling. Nina Reilly has lost nearly everything—her job, her husband- -and seems on the verge of losing her self-respect as well. Once she and her young son relocate to the Lake Tahoe area to stay with her brother, things begin to look even worse. Nina can't establish herself as an attorney without courting the displeasure of well- placed ``all-men'' firms. Worse, she can't attract clients without the help of her secretary, a woman who once worked for the competition. One client, Misty, a bimbo/waitress of the first order, hires Nina to oversee divorce proceedings from her abusive husband Anthony. But Anthony is nowhere to be found. Until, that is, his body is located at the bottom of the lake. As Nina tries to pin down the real culprit with the aid of Paul, her private investigator, she makes several strategic errors that incriminate Misty even further. It's on Misty's questionable suppressed memory of the murder night and her childhood that the plot hinges—a little creakily. A valuable defense witness comes to a brutal, unbelievable end. Nina herself is nearly killed. Amazing coincidences stack up, even vital information easily surfaces—from the Philippines! Meanwhile, Nina is a Marcia Clark clone, and she's not the only element in this thriller to remind readers of recent and/or current high-profile crimes—giving O'Shaughnessy the problem of seemingly being compelled to delineate court procedures instead of carrying the story on through action scenes. Even so, a highly artificial courtroom sequence does end with a twist that's truly surprising. Characterizations are skimpy, and the plot could use a diet, but the talented sisters O'Shaughnessy are newcomers to watch. (Author tour) Read full book review >