FIRST OFFENSE by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg


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A bestselling track record and some hot sex scenarios can't mask the fact that Rosenberg's latest legal-action thriller is a clunker. When her highway patrolman husband, Hank, disappeared, probation officer Ann Carlisle came apart at the seams. Now, four years later, her 12-year-old son, David, has nightmares, wets his bed, and is eating himself into a fat slug. But Ann is beginning to get her life back. She's dating rugged, ostentatiously wealthy assistant DA Glen Hopkins, whose mama is a powerhouse judge, and though David hates him, the sex is great; they even do it in the stairwell of the courthouse. Then Ann is shot outside the courthouse, and again her world turns upside down. Ann's probationer Jimmy Sawyer, a drug dealer who saved her life, is charged with the crime and immediately smears Ann, saying they had an affair that went sour. Ann is getting harassing phone calls from a man who sounds like Hank, and she is forced to remember that her marriage was less than idyllic. Hank liked to smack her around -- but did he shoot her? Ann fears she'll antagonize Glen because she's uncovered evidence that may free a rapist he's locked up, and Tommy Reed, a macho Keystone-like cop, smothers her with concern. Like assistant DA Lily Forrester of Mitigating Circumstances (1993), who kills the man she thinks raped her and her daughter, Ann is a victim who tries to go on the offensive. But her actions are obscured by her girlish, namby-pamby ways and her deference to the men she loves. Rosenberg is a former probation officer whose obnoxious promo material tells us she was raped in college and therefore knows how victims feel. She offers a glimpse into a probation officer's gritty day-to-day activities, but it's not very interesting. Cartoon characters, psychobabble, and a helpless heroine who's oblivious to the culprit right under her nose. Skip the book and wait to rent the movie on a very slow weekend.

Pub Date: Aug. 8th, 1994
ISBN: 1440165181
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dutton