The creator of Philadelphia lawyer Bennie Rosato (Think Twice, 2010, etc.) pens another white-hot crossover novel about the perils of mother love.
One minute catalog model–turned–lunchroom mom Rose McKenna is keeping third-grade bully Amanda Gigot from leaving the Reesburgh Elementary cafeteria while she tells Amanda that she shouldn’t make fun of Rose’s daughter, Melinda Cadiz, because of the port wine birthmark on her cheek; the next, she’s agonizing over which child to save first from an explosion that’s ripped through the school cafeteria. Rose’s reflexes make what she ends up deciding were the best decisions at the time: She led Amanda and her friends to the door to safety, then went back to look for Melly, who’d hidden in a rest room. But Eileen Gigot and her many friends in the school don’t agree. They accuse Rose of detaining Amanda, now lying in a hospital in a coma, then leaving her in the care of another 8-year-old so that she could rescue her own daughter, who’s making a full recovery. Rose is stung by shock, then guilt, and finally outrage when she realizes that Eileen may file both civil and criminal actions against her. Worse, she learns that her one ally in Reesburgh Elementary, gifted teacher Kristen Canton, is leaving. Worse still, the hardball litigator her understanding husband, attorney Leo Ingrassia, has dug up for her, is anticipating possible prosecution by taking an aggressive stand on his client’s behalf, positioning Rose as exactly the sort of bully she’s been trying to protect her daughter from. So when Kurt Rehgard, a carpenter who’d hinted that the explosion was an extremely suspicious accident, is killed together with the contractor friend he’d confided in, Rose parks Melly with some sympathetic neighbors for a few days and takes it upon herself to discover exactly what happened and why.
Scottoline, who shifts gears at every curve with the cool efficiency of a NASCAR driver, expertly fuels her target audience’s dearest fantasy: “Every mom is an action hero.”