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    Review of DEAD RINGER by Lisa Scottoline (see her website)

    HarperCollins, May 2003

    Lawyer Bennie Rosato thinks she's in trouble when a big client declares bankruptcy--leaving her in the lurch. She discovers what trouble really is when she's arrested for stealing and accused of drunken behavior in front of the judges that control so much of her life. Bennie knows the problem--her twin sister is acting up. What she doesn't know is what to do about it or how to pay her bills. When a huge potential case walks into her office, things briefly look up--but she's up against fierce lawyers, and those are the ones on her side.

    Author Lisa Scottoline (see more reviews of mysteries by Scottoline) combines legal tension with a sassy female-on-the-prowl. Bennie is a sympathetic heroine as she deals with her guilt over having abandoned her sister, her fears that she will lose the law firm that she has worked so hard to build, and with her fears as one of her clients is murdered.

    For me, one of the benefits of a legal thriller is seeing the legal process and legal mind at work. Scottoline gave us a taste of this with the meetings with the other lawyers interested in the class action lawsuit. Yet, Bennie's instant credulity over Robert St. Amien's story about an antitrust agreement (it is certainly possible but wouldn't she want to investigate, find whether the trade association denied the accusations, learn if there were other witnesses who were willing to confirm St. Amien's story), and the coincidence that other lawyers would so quickly respond to the case when St. Amien was supposedly the only foreign manufacturer who actually heard the plot (or did the Americans blab to everyone?). I would also have liked to see a stronger motivation for Bennie's twin sister, Alice. Her anger seems excessive, and the resolution of the conflict between the sisters a little contrived. Still, there were moments of real emotional truth as the two sisters struggled toward an understanding of one another--an understanding that each knew could be destructive.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 7/20/03

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