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    Review of DEVIL'S CORNER by Lisa Scottoline (see her website)

    HarperCollins, June 2005

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Vicki Allegretti expects to meet a confidential informant on a 'straw purchase' case (where a person with a good record buys weapons and provides them to criminals). Instead, she runs into a couple of teenaged criminals who panic and shoot her partner and the pregnant CI. Vicki becomes obsessed with the case--to the point of attacking the woman the CI had fingered. But when the suspect's mother is killed, Vicki feels responsible. Together with Reheema, the suspect who Vicki now believes was innocent and set up, Vicki breaks her department's rules and her boss's orders to investigate.

    What Vicki and Reheema find is a crack cocaine operation on Reheema's street--the 'Devil's Corner.' The Devil's Corner happens to be where Vicki's father grew up, creating a social entanglement. What they can't find is a connection between the cocaine sales and Reheema's framing. Vicki gets in more trouble at work and is suspended without pay. Adding to her problems, her relationship with her married co-worker, Dan, escalates.

    Author Lisa Scottoline (see more reviews of novels by Scottoline) combines a solid feel for the streets of Philadelphia with some exciting girl-sleuth action. The evolving relationship between Reheema and Vicki propels the story forward as the two put themselves in danger and learn to understand and respect one another. Vicki's interaction with Dan, in contrast, is obviously unhealthy for her--although she remains in denial about this throughout. I found this distanced me from Vicki--I wanted her to get it.

    Scottoline relies too heavily on coincidence, from the setup of the mystery through the tracking down of the killers to the ultimate resolution of the mystery. But her strong writing, interesting female characters, and the backdrop of the war against crack cocaine in the central city, DEVIL'S CORNER definitely held my interest.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/16/05

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