The plot-soggy sequel to this sister-writing team's debut legal procedural (Motion to Suppress, 1995) further muddies the...

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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.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 419

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1996