Scottoline gives the high-spirited, hard-pressed firm of Rosato & Associates a break to introduce an equally gutsy assistant U.S. attorney facing even less plausible challenges.
A phone call from confidential informant Shayla Jackson has sent Vicki Allegretti and ATF case agent Bob Morton to a grim Philadelphia neighborhood. Hugely pregnant Shayla is already dead at the appointed address, presumably killed by one Jay-Boy, who shoots Morty three times on his way out while Vicki wrestles his buddy Teeg for his Glock. Vicki manages to dial 911 as Morty’s dying, and that’s the last moment for a long time that her recklessness isn’t the lead story. Next morning, she trumps up an excuse to confront jailed Reheema Bristow, whom Shayla had fingered as the straw buyer of two guns, and nearly strangles the handcuffed prisoner in her rage. Threatened with a lawsuit for her behavior, she drives out to visit Reheema’s mother Arissa and turns her attention away from her hostess long enough to let the addled crackhead lift her wallet and totter off into the night. When Arissa is stabbed to death, the cops naturally come looking for the lawyer whose ID was found on the corpse. For reasons best known to him, Vicki’s boss doesn’t fire her, so she’s free to team up with Reheema (!) to prowl the streets in a series of rental cars looking for the killers and finding trouble. On the home front, Vicki’s self-styled best friend, her colleague Dan Malloy, is dumped by his perfect wife and falls so quickly into Vicki’s bed that you just know things aren’t going to go smoothly there either. Even after the shooter is arrested, bad things keep right on happening.
Not without Scottoline’s customary grit and humor, but sprawling and shapeless, with a particularly unconvincing third act. Bring back Bennie Rosato.