Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Lisa Scottoline

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 2001
ISBN: 0-06-018507-4
Publisher: HarperCollins

The latest criminal defendant for Bennie Rosato's all-female law firm (Moment of Truth, 2000, etc.) is an elderly Italian-American who's killed another elderly Italian-American with his bare hands.

Moreover, insists Tony Lucia, he'd meant to kill Angelo Coluzzi; he was happy to kill him; after all, Angelo had had it coming to him for 60 years, ever since he'd murdered Tony's bride Silvana back in Italy after she left him for Tony, and Angelo's fellow-Blackshirts declined to prosecute him despite Tony's howls of rage. But Tony hasn't just been nursing an ancient grievance, he tells his lawyer, Judy Carrier; he'd struck out at Angelo after his old enemy had gloated that the deaths of Tony's son and his wife last year in a fiery car crash were no accident, because Angelo himself had been nursing his own grudge against gentle pigeon-breeder Tony. But although vendettas may be a fact of death back in Palermo, they can't be used to justify homicide in Philadelphia. So Judy, aided by Tony's sexy stonecutter grandson Frank, hunkers down to the impossible task of digging up exculpatory evidence. At the same time, she sees no harm in continuing the vendetta she can't drag into court by launching a brace of civil suits against Coluzzi Construction—tossing in another suit against Angelo's son John for planting a bomb under her car. It's not until she's succeeded in setting John Coluzzi against his brother Marco, the firm's heir apparent, that she realizes she's trapped herself in the crossfire, and she'll have to go back to court in search of the legal victory that will clear the way for her romance with Frank Lucia—a victory that would have looked a lot less anticlimactic a hundred pages earlier.

Generously plotted and emotionally wide-ranging, though readers less dewy-eyed than Judy will see cracks in the structure that a pro like Frank would never let by.