Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dirty Blonde

I miss Rosato & Associates.  The last few Lisa Scottoline books I've read haven't been part of her series-that-isn't-a-series involving Philadelphia's only all-female litigation firm.  The titular Dirty Blonde is Cate Fante, a newly appointed judge originally from Centralia PA.  Cate is reliably smart - and smart-mouthed - as all Scottoline heroines are, but I just couldn't get involved in her story.  I think Scottoline might have had the same problem, or maybe she realized that there are only so many times she can make her protagonist the target of a stalker.  

Dirty Blonde is full of witty dialogue, well-drawn settings (as a native Philadelphian, I mentally penciled in street names and landmarks as Cate drove around town), and daring escapes.  What's missing is a strong central plot.  Scottoline has thrown in too many subplots, including Cate's best friend and her autistic toddler, Cate's habit of picking up men in dive bars, and Cate's trip back to her burning, abandoned home town, and they all distract from the intertwined problems of Cate's stalking and the murder of a plaintiff Cate has ruled against.  

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