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Library Journal Review
Starred Review. Edgar Award-winning author Scottoline has returned to introduce a new female legal eagle. As the book opens, new Philadelphia assistant U.S. attorney Vicki Allegretti immediately finds herself face to face with a robbery gone bad; her partner and criminal informant are killed and she narrowly escapes with her own life. What ensues is a roller-coaster week in which she is suspended from work, naïvely investigates the crime on her own, becomes romantically involved with a married coworker, and has several arguments with her parents. The author infuses the text with accessible legalese and much humor. Barbara Rosenblat does a skillful job, making each character distinct and memorable, even though her portrayal of several African Americans is a bit overblown and borders on stereotype. Otherwise, the production is smooth and of good quality; highly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Review
Scottoline's 12th novel was inspired by a real-life jury trial for crack-cocaine trafficking of members of one of the most violent gangs in Philadelphia history (in her acknowledgments, the former trial lawyer admits she watches cases like these "for fun"). Such inspiration lends a tough, uncompromising realism to this stand-alone legal thriller. Scottoline (Killer Smile; Dead Ringer; etc.) sets the book in Philly, of course, and her lead this time is assistant U.S. Attorney Vicki Alegretti, whose petite frame belies her gutsy, unbridled determination on the job. While conducting a routine interview with a confidential informant on a straightforward matter, things go awry, and Vicki's partner-along with the informant-is shot. Resolved to find the killer, Vicki takes on the case (unbeknownst to her boss), and that's when the twists begin. In short chapters with cliffhanger endings, Scottoline spins a tale that finds Vicki joining forces with Reheema, a gorgeous black woman from the drug-ridden West Philly neighborhood of Devil's Corner. Reheema wants to find the person responsible for murdering her crack-addicted mother, and as she and Vicki play detective, they realize the murders may be connected and that they're getting increasingly closer to bringing down a sizable drug ring. Scottoline's ability to mix humor with serious subject matter, combined with her intense research of inner city drug trafficking and a side plot involving Vicki's love life, make for compelling entertainment. Agent, Molly Friedrich. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Assistant U.S. attorney Vicki Allegretti's meeting with a confidential informant goes terribly wrong when the routine appointment turns into a bloodbath, leaving Vicki's ATF partner, Morty, dead along with the informant and her unborn child. Vicki's bosses tell her to move on to her next case, but Vicki, determined to find the killer, launches her own investigation, in the course of which she takes on an unlikely partner, Reheema, an African American woman whose mother was killed in a drug-related murder that may connect to Vicki's case. Vicki and Reheema--the former a product of privilege and private school and the latter a product of Devil's Corner, an aptly named, drug-riddled Philly neighborhood--make an unlikely but very appealing pair. The interplay between the two women shows Scottoline at her best--chatty but intelligent, biting but respectful. Although we miss the all-female Philadelphia law firm of Rosato & Associates, whose members are the heroines of Scottoline's popular series, this stand-alone thriller (inspired by a real-life case) makes an entertaining and exciting change of pace. --Mary Frances Wilkens Copyright 2005 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Scottoline gives the high-spirited, hard-pressed firm of Rosato & Associates a break to introduce an equally gutsy assistant U.S. attorney facing even less plausible challenges. A phone call from confidential informant Shayla Jackson has sent Vicki Allegretti and ATF case agent Bob Morton to a grim Philadelphia neighborhood. Hugely pregnant Shayla is already dead at the appointed address, presumably killed by one Jay-Boy, who shoots Morty three times on his way out while Vicki wrestles his buddy Teeg for his Glock. Vicki manages to dial 911 as Morty's dying, and that's the last moment for a long time that her recklessness isn't the lead story. Next morning, she trumps up an excuse to confront jailed Reheema Bristow, whom Shayla had fingered as the straw buyer of two guns, and nearly strangles the handcuffed prisoner in her rage. Threatened with a lawsuit for her behavior, she drives out to visit Reheema's mother Arissa and turns her attention away from her hostess long enough to let the addled crackhead lift her wallet and totter off into the night. When Arissa is stabbed to death, the cops naturally come looking for the lawyer whose ID was found on the corpse. For reasons best known to him, Vicki's boss doesn't fire her, so she's free to team up with Reheema (!) to prowl the streets in a series of rental cars looking for the killers and finding trouble. On the home front, Vicki's self-styled best friend, her colleague Dan Malloy, is dumped by his perfect wife and falls so quickly into Vicki's bed that you just know things aren't going to go smoothly there either. Even after the shooter is arrested, bad things keep right on happening. Not without Scottoline's customary grit and humor, but sprawling and shapeless, with a particularly unconvincing third act. Bring back Bennie Rosato. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.