MISTAKEN IDENTITY by Lisa Scottoline


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Continuing her run of coming up with the best hooks in the legal intrigue trade (Rough Justice, 1997, etc.), Scottoline tosses Philadelphia lawyer Bennie Rosato her most challenging client—an accused cop-killer who claims she’s Bennie’s identical twin. And maybe she is. Bennie’s ailing mother is too far gone to confirm or deny Alice Connolly’s incredible tale of separation soon after birth; the supporting evidence is inconclusive; and while Bennie is waiting for the DNA results, there’s the little matter of taking over, on a week’s notice, Connolly’s botched defense on the capital charge of killing her live-in lover, Officer Anthony Della Porta. Bennie, whose firm specializes in prosecuting naughty cops, couldn’t expect much help from Della Porta’s associates even if they weren’t, as Connolly insists, crooks and drug dealers, cogs in a conspiracy dedicated to putting her away for good. Meantime, her fellow inmates can’t wait for her to be found guilty; they’re eager to sentence her to a much quicker death. The situation is so desperate that Bennie toys with the idea of mounting a twin defense, changing her hair and dress in order to double herself with the unlovable defendant. She changes her mind, but Connolly doesn’t. Since Bennie won’t ape her style, she starts to ape Bennie’s: “The defendant had become the lawyer; the twins had traded places.” Meantime, Bennie’s getting clobbered in court by rulings so slanted that she’s got to wonder if Judge Harrison Guthrie isn’t part of the conspiracy too. All this while she’s trying to face up to the possibility that hard-bitten Connolly really is her long-lost twin sister. Can Scottoline do justice to the whodunit, the courtroom thriller, and the buried family romance in a mere 496 pages? Of course not; the thriller wins in a walk. But even the most skeptical fans will be impressed at how tightly Scottoline knots them all together in her biggest book yet.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1999
ISBN: 0-06-018747-6
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1999


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