Accused (Scottoline)

Accused (Rosato & Associates, 12)
Lisa Scottoline, 2013
St. Martin's Press
368 pp.
ISBN-13: 9781250027658

New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author Lisa Scottoline revolutionized crime fiction when she introduced her all-female law firm of Rosato & Associates, thrilling readers with her twisty, fast-paced plots and capturing their hearts with her cast of strong and relatable female characters.

Now Bennie Rosato, Mary DiNunzio, Judy Carrier, and Anne Murphy are back with all cylinders firing in Accused.

Mary Dinuzio has just been promoted to partner and is about to take on her most unusual case yet, brought to the firm by a thirteen-year-old genius with a penchant for beekeeping. Allegra Gardner’s sister Fiona was murdered six years ago, and it seemed like an open-and-shut case: the accused, Lonnie Stall, was seen fleeing the scene; his blood was on Fiona and her blood was on him; most damningly, Lonnie Stall pleaded guilty.

But Allegra believes Lonnie is innocent and has been wrongly imprisoned. The Gardner family is one of the most powerful in the country and Allegra’s parents don’t believe in reopening the case, so taking it on is risky.  But the Rosato & Associates firm can never resist an underdog. Was justice really served all those years ago? It will take a team of unstoppable female lawyers, plus one thirteen-year-old genius, to find out. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—July 1, 1955
Where—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Education—B.A., J.D., University of Pennsylvania
Awards—Edgar Award
Currently—lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Most authors admit that they need to work in silence in order to get into the creative process. For them, writing is serious work that requires the utmost peace and concentration. Of course, most authors are not writing the kind of whiz-bang, sharp, wild, and witty works that Lisa Scottoline is producing. Scottoline's unusual working methods and desire for all things pop culture have helped her to create some of the most unapologetically entertaining and compulsively page-turning novels in contemporary popular fiction.

Scottoline's initial impetus to become a novelist was not quite as joyful as her novels might suggest. She had recently given up her position as a litigator at a Philadelphia law firm to raise her newborn daughter at the same time as she was breaking up with her husband. While the birth of her daughter was an undoubtedly happy moment for Scottoline, she was also thrust into relative isolation in the wake of her separation and the end of her job. To keep herself busy (when not tending to her daughter, that is), she decided to write a novel, the provocative story of an ambitious young lawyer whose hectic life becomes even more manic when she learns she is being stalked. Three years after beginning the novel, Scottoline sold Everywhere That Mary Went to HarperCollins a mere week after taking a part-time job as a clerk for an appellate judge—her first job since beginning the book. While her transition from lawyer to novelist may seem abrupt to some, Scottoline asserts that it was law school that gave her the necessary tools to spin a compelling yarn. In a 2005 interview with Barnes &, Scottoline asserted that the job of a lawyer is surprisingly similar to that of a good writer: "Take the facts that matter, throw out the ones that don't, order them in such a way in which a point of view is created so that by the time someone is finished listening to your argument or reading your book they see things completely in that point of view."

Scottoline's sure-handed way with an intriguing narrative has led to a string of bestselling thrillers and a popular series revolving around the women of Rosato & Associates, an all-female law firm in Philadelphia—the author's own beloved hometown. Jam-packed with humor, mystery, eroticism, and smarts, her novels are published worldwide and have been translated into twenty-five different languages.

From a 2005 Barnes & Noble interview:

• Lisa Scottoline is definitely no TV snob. She feels no shame when revealing her love of everything from Court TV to Oprah to The Apprentice to I Love Lucy.

• One of the reasons that Scottoline is such a fabulous writer may have something to do with having a particularly fabulous teacher. While studying English at the University of Pennsylvania she was instructed by National Book Award Winner Philip Roth.

• Don't try this at home! Scottoline completed her first novel, Everywhere That Mary Went, while she and her newborn daughter lived solely on $35,000 worth of credit from five Visa cards, which she'd completely maxed out by the time she completed the book three years later. 

When asked in a 2005 Barnes & Noble interview what book that most influenced her life, her is what she said:

The Firm, by John Grisham. It's a truly page-turning book about lawyers, which ain't easy, and it changed my life on a very literal level. I'd always been a huge fan of the legal thriller, from the time of Erle Stanley Gardner. But John Grisham broke new ground in The Firm, because for the first time, a lawyer was the star of the novel, but he wasn't shown in a courtroom drama—he was an underdog. Admittedly, a good-looking, wealthy, BMW-driving underdog, but an underdog just the same. And Grisham opened my eyes to the possibility that lawyers could have rich interior lives (at the time, I was a lawyer without a rich interior life), and from him I learned that these lives could make for first-rate suspense fiction, which led me to think that maybe I could try my hand at writing, as well. So I owe Grisham, not only as a fan and a lawyer, but as a writer. And I hope that anyone out there who has a secret longing to write a book will give it a try. Everyone has a book in them. Even lawyers. (Author bio and interview from Barnes & Noble.)

Visit Lisa's website and say hello on Facebook.

Book Reviews
Her new novel, Accused, which just came out, is Scottoline in top form. The book continues her series of mystery-thrillers about Rosato and Associates, an all-female law firm. (Scottoline knows from whence she speaks: she practiced law herself, having graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania law school.)

Mary DiNunzio faces two daunting changes in bestseller Scottoline’s intriguing 12th novel featuring the all-woman Philadelphia law firm of Rosato & Associates (after 2010’s Think Twice).... Myriad legal and ethical problems complicate the case [at hand].... Mary follows her heart and gut into danger in this welcome series return after three stand-alones.
Publishers Weekly

Scottoline returns to the Philadelphia law firm of Rosato & Associates, with Mary DiNunzio now a partner. Thirteen-year-old Allegra Gardner wants to hire the firm, and she has the trust fund to do it. The murder of her sister, Fiona, six years ago still haunts Allegra.... Mary’s naivete and belief in justice are heartwarming and believable, and all the characters are recognizable without being cliched. This is a long-awaited (since Think Twice, 2010), solid entry into a terrific series. —Stacy Alesi

After a three-year break to write barn-burning crossover thrillers, Scottoline returns to...Rosato & Associates, with an utterly characteristic spin on that old chestnut, the jailed innocent wrongfully convicted of murder.... Mary's surprisingly sober, methodical and uninteresting.... [L]ess thrills and more detection than most of the firm's cases: a showcase for a heroine who aptly describes herself as "Nancy Drew with a J.D."
Kirkus Reviews

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