Monday, November 28, 2016

Damaged ~ Lisa Scottoline (earc) review [@LisaScottoline @StMartinsPress]

Damaged (Rosato & DiNunzio #4)
St Martin's Press
August 16, 2016
405 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

From the New York Times bestselling author comes the much-anticipated fourth book in the Rosato & DiNunzio thriller series.

Damaged finds Mary DiNunzio, partner at the all-female law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio, embroiled in one of her most heartbreaking cases yet. Suing the Philadelphia school district to get help for a middle school boy with emotional issues, Mary ends up becoming the guardian ad litem of her minor client. As she goes up against Nick Machiavelli, her opposing counsel and the dark prince of South Philly lawyers who will use any means necessary to defeat her, she becomes more and more invested in the case—and puts everything, including her engagement to her longtime boyfriend, on the line.

Damaged is the second Rosato and DiNunzio series book, after 2013's Accused to feature Mary DiNunzio as the main character. The books in this series have mostly self contained stories and don't need to be read in order, but it's probably better to read Accused before Damaged. What we know about Mary's personal life - her past, her relationship with Anthony, her parents, the Tonys, etc - definitely builds on what was in Accused and is a pretty significant part of both books.

Though the attention given to Mary's relationships and family can sometimes keep this feeling too nice to really be a thriller, I do like the inclusion. Both of her cases (from the two books) have involved children and their families, how those relationships function or don't and any legal repercussions and the parallels between Mary and her relationships works well.

I thought that the area of the legal system Mary has to discover in this book (it may be spoilery to actually say which area that is) was more believable and fit better than with Book 2, Betrayed and what Judy learned. It made sense here for Mary to not be familiar with the workings of that part of the system and the way she was educated about it, along with the readers, didn't seem strange. (When Judy had to be told thinks like ICE was Immigration and  Customs Enforcement, it made her seem ignorant. Definitions and distinctions Mary was told about were understandable.)

Parts of the ending of Damaged do seem to wrap up very neatly and can feel almost too sweet and fairy tale like, yet at the same time, they somehow still fit with the story and aren't actually too much. The way the story unfolded, with several unexpected occurrences, some with legal reasons, some not, along with the characters and the relationships they were developing kept me reading right to the end.

This series is a bit 'lighter' than many thrillers, but it is a good series and I'll be looking for Book 5 to read next year.

digital review copy received, via NetGalley, from publisher

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