The plot-soggy sequel to this sister-writing team's debut legal procedural (Motion to Suppress, 1995) further muddies the waters of feisty lawyer Nina Reilly's Lake Tahoe past. Suffering physical and psychological scars from the shooting that concluded her previous trial, Nina thwarts the Sweet family's attempt to suppress filmmaker Theresa London's sleazy documentary about the 12-year-old disappearance of their teenage daughter Tamara. While waiting in Nina's office, London, a lynx-clad femme fatale with all the requisite screws loose, coyly suggests to Nina's 11-year-old son, Bob, that he find his biological father. Bob asks for help from p.i. Paul von Waggoner, who is about to ask Nina to marry him. Paul finds Kurt Scott, an expatriate former Tahoe forest ranger and Nina's first lover, playing Bach fugues in Germany. Something more than nostalgia brings Scott back to Tahoe, where he is arrested after fleeing the scene of Terry London's murder, Terry's garbled, dying videotaped confession suggesting that Scott fired the rifle that killed her. The authors have enough respect for legal ethics to have Nina at least question the numerous conflicts of interest before deciding to defend her former lover. But the plot is made even more cumbersome when Scott, having seen Terry's documentary, breaks out of jail and locates Tamara Sweet's remains. Then Nina discovers that her brother, Matt, who takes tourists parasailing on the lake, may be involved in Terry's murder. Savoring their novel's resort setting, the O'Shaughnessys offer glimpses into the kinky lives of a casino showgirl, a burned- out hippie guitarist, and his monster-truck driving son. Occasional outbursts of droll humor relieve Nina's lugubrious concerns about what effect so much twisted melodrama will have on her son. Overplotted, then, and frequently silly, though redeemed by local color, screwball dialogue (``first we make love, then you won't take my calls''), and grimly realistic insider stuff about lawyers at their best and worst.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-385-31413-2

Page Count: 419

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Cheerfully engaging.


From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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