BREACH OF PROMISE by Perri O’Shaughnessy


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What looks like Lake Tahoe attorney Nina Reilly’s most routine case--a palimony suit with millions in the balance--takes a startling turn in this inventive, misshapen legal thriller. Why shouldn’t he move on? wonders exercise-equipment mogul Mikhail Markov. He’s had 20 good years with his wife Lindy, and now he’s gearing up for another 20 with Rachel Pembroke, his beauteous Vice President in Charge of Financial Services. Spurning his penny-ante offer of a million bucks, Lindy finds she’s out in the cold: Mike kept all the company’s assets and all their private property in his name alone, and no wonder, since Lindy’s not really married to him. In fact, as Nina finds after she’s already committed herself to the case, Mike’s still kept a Separate Property Agreement in which Lindy long ago signed away her claims to any community property. So what does Nina have? Experienced palimony co-counsel Winston Reynolds, hotshot jury consultant Genevieve Suchat, 20 years of Mike’s living with Lindy as man and wife, and all the evidence she can muster of Lindy’s contributions to the business that bears Mike’s name. It doesn’t look like much, especially when Nina’s confronting Mike’s fire-breathing sharpie Jeffrey Riesner across the courtroom. But suddenly what ought to be an orderly, if turbo-financed, civil suit blossoms into murder. And although the O’Shaughnessy sisters (Obstruction of Justice, 1997, etc.) have duly provided tableaux of Lindy wielding knives and handguns, most readers will be surprised by both the actual weapon and the victim. Unfortunately, the novel pays a big price for its thunderclap: The murder investigation that closes it out manages to be at once shriller, sillier, more drawn-out, and more predictable than the legal thrust-and-parry that led up to it. Maybe the best way to read Nina’s fifth case is to knock off halfway through, as Mike Markov undoubtedly wishes he’d done too. (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 12th, 1998
ISBN: 0-385-31872-3
Page count: 444pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1998


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