by Sidney Sheldon ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 8, 1980
Sheldon (Bloodline) is at his best in the frankly unreal worlds of showfolk and jet-setters, where his contrived plotting can be gobbled up for the cotton-candy it is. Now, however--in the story of N.Y. lawyer Jennifer Parker's rise and fall--Sheldon is in the nitty-gritty arena of courts, Mafiosi, and politics; and here his Hollywood-poolside approach, which is about as streetwise as an episode of The Love Boat, just doesn't work. Still, there's some basic grab in the (implausible) premise: just out of law school and new at the N.Y. District Attorney's office, dumb Jennifer is tricked by some hoods into ruining the D.A.'s case against Mafia crown prince Michael Moretti; she's fired, publicly humiliated, blackballed--and only through sheer determination (earning money by process-serving) does she build a solo law career against all odds, representing prostitutes and convicts and a quadruple-amputee (""The largest personal injury award in the history of the State of New York""). Her only aid comes from handsome, married senatorial candidate Adam Warner--who clears her name and sends her clients. It's soon love, of course (""an ecstasy that was almost unbearable""), but Adam's wife tricks him into impregnating her--so, even though noble Jennifer is also pregnant, she keeps that a secret and sends Adam on his married, elected way. Someone else is hot for Jennifer, however: Michael Moretti, the very crook who ruined her early career. Jennifer resists him, of course. . . till he saves her insufferably cute little son (who'll die anyway later during brain surgery) from a sadist-psycho kidnapper. From then on it's full steam ahead with sensual Moretti (""She was a slave to something she had never known before""), and Jennifer is soon handling loads of unethical Mafia cases. And who should happen to be leading the investigation into the Mob? Senator Adam, of course--who wants to spare Jennifer somehow. . . while Moretti, suddenly aware of the Adam affair, plans to kill them both. (""You're never going to fuck anyone again, you hear? I'm going to put you in the river with your lover!"") Unfortunately, Sheldon's courtroom action is strictly from Perry Masonland (compare Barry Reed's The Verdict, p. 389), his Mafioso are more Pucci than Puzo--and Jennifer, who goes from dumb to brilliant to totally idiotic-with-love, is a hopeless heroine. Sheldon's flimsiest melodrama yet, then, but his track record and a certain basic readability will ensure a sizeable turn-out.
Pub Date: July 8, 1980
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1980
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