MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg
Kirkus Star

MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A former cop's page-burning tale of a rape victim's vengeance that offers thrills and emotionalism aplenty--as well as the most cleverly calculated defense of vigilantism since Brian Carfield's Death Wish of 20 years ago. The rape, which comes early here, is as shocking as any in fiction, detailed in graphic slow-motion prose as heroine Lily Forrester is sodomized at knifepoint by a young Hispanic. What will make readers really cringe, though, is that Lily's 13-year-old daughter, Shana, is raped alongside her mom. The kicker is that Lily is an assistant D.A. (of the fictional city of Oxnard, California); but despite her fierce allegiance to the law, right after the rape, Lily, flush with rage, i.d.'s the rapist, blows him away, then covers her tracks: She alone knows that the man shot dead by an unknown assailant raped her and her daughter. Though first-novelist Rosenberg uses a steam shovel to stack readers' sympathies toward Lily--subplots reveal that the rapist had killed twice before, and that, as a child, Lily had been raped repeatedly by her grandfather--the author offers a convincingly complex portrait of the aftermath of the crimes: of Shana's shattered world, and of Lily's breakdown as she's ravaged by guilt yet terrified of being caught. The tension escalates as Oxnard's best detective catches the case, and it goes over the top when a lineup of suspects corralled by the cops reveals that Idly may have killed the wrong man. Will Lily be found out, and, even if not, will she be able to live with her terrible remorse? Suffice it to say that Rosenberg punches all the fight buttons to create a climax awash in musing moral righteousness; but readers--and this first novel will have many--may note to their discomfort that, ultimately, Lily really isn't much more than Charles Broason in a designer dress.

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 1993
ISBN: 1440151075
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Dutton