Scottoline brings back fan-favorite law firm Rosato & Associates in this troubling mystery that pits a precocious young girl against her parents and an idealistic attorney against, well, everybody. If the wisecracking attorneys or the octogenarian Philly-Italian-Americans seem a little corny, just go with it. The clever writing, witty dialogue and spot-on characterizations are part of the fun of the Rosato experience.
The attorneys of Rosato & Associates are celebrating Mary DiNunzio’s promotion to partner when 13-year-old Allegra, a member of the wealthy and influential Gardner family, walks in. She wants someone to investigate the six-year-old murder of her sister. Allegra believes that the man convicted of the crime is innocent and wants to find the real killer against her parents’ wishes. When Allegra’s version of events turns out to be different than everyone else’s, and the Gardners claim that Allegra needs psychiatric care, Mary has doubts. But she is determined to find answers for the girl. (ST. MARTIN’S, Nov., 368 pp., $27.99)