Thursday, January 22, 2009

But I Thought I Didn't Like It

When I was thirteen, I discovered John Grisham's The Client on my grandmother's bookshelves. Her collection of mysteries is still a wonder for me and I peruse her shelves each time I am at her house. At that time, though, I would go stay with her for a few days each summer and around the holidays and enjoy days on days of reading and eating junk food and watching MTV (something that was not allowed at home).

Anyway, I loved The Client and after that, my reading grandmother started buying me my own John Grisham collection. Problem is that with the exception of The Client, I really didn't like his stuff. It's just not for me.

A couple years later, I took a stab at a true crime book my mom had read as a teen. Helter Skelter is the story of the Charles Manson murders, and about a third of the way in you're already past the crimes and into the case. I stopped reading and left my mom's old bubblegum wrapper bookmarks never to return again.

When I was in college, as part of my courts class assignment, I had to head on over to each of the city's courthouses (local, parish, and federal) to observe cases. One day at each. And I thanked my lucky stars that there were no cases going on.

When I did my internship, I sat in on two different cases. One was an evidence hearing regarding a case in which I had actually walked the scene and the other was regarding a case from the previous fall and various motions for it. Since I knew many of the cops who were taking the stand, these were actually interesting to me. I knew the cases and I knew the people involved, but otherwise, I have always and will always shy away from courtroom drama. Let's face it, it's really not all that dramatic for the most part.

So see, legal thrillers are just not for me, or so I thought. Then I discovered Lisa Scottoline. I had never read any of her books, having shied away from anything and everything bearing any sort of resemblance to Grisham's stuff from that very early reading age. At the time, I was working at the bookstore and had a great contact with her publisher who had sent me some of her favorite upcoming titles to read. I felt obligated to give the book, Devil's Corner, a shot. And guess what?! I loved it!

For those who have not read Scottoline, she writes in a way that reminds me of Mary Higgins Clark. It never goes over your head and they're packed with an intensity and suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat. And one of my favorite things, her plots are exciting and different. I never feel like I'm reading the same book over and over again as I have found with, well, others.

I never reviewed Devil's Corner, and my book diary merely notes my thanks that she is NOT at all like Grisham. So, since it's been over three years, here is the flap copy from my first and favorite Lisa Scottoline (favorite because it introduced me to her):

"Vicki Allegretti always wondered what it would feel like to look into the barrel of a loaded gun, and now she knew."
From the very first sentence of Devil's Corner, Lisa, a New York Times bestselling author, launches an action-packed tale of murder and conspiracy set on the gritty streets of Philadelphia, but this time she departs from the halls of Rosato & Associates, and delivers a stand-alone thriller featuring a gutsy new heroine, Vicki Allegretti.

When prosecutor Vicki Allegretti arrives at a rowhouse to meet a confidential informant, she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time—and is almost shot to death. She barely escapes with her life, but cannot save the two others gunned down before her disbelieving eyes. Stunned and heartbroken, Vicki tries to figure out how a routine meeting on a minor case became a double homicide.

Then she sets out to see justice done. She can identify the killers—now all she has to do is find them.

Vicki's suspicions take her to
Devil's Corner, a city neighborhood teetering on the brink of ruin—thick with broken souls, innocent youth, and a scourge that preys on both. But the deeper Vicki probes, the more she becomes convinced that the murders weren't random and the killers were more ruthless than she thought. Agreeing with her is her office crush, golden boy Dan Malloy—who is unfortunately too married to give Vicki the kind of support a girl really needs.

When another murder thrusts Vicki together with an unlikely ally, she buckles up for a wild ride down a dangerous street—and into the cross-hairs of a conspiracy as powerful as it is relentless.

Set against the pulsing, real backdrop of a modern American city, with a storyline driven by the strong female characters and breakneck pace that has become her trademark,
Devil's Corner is Lisa most satisfying novel yet.

Visit Lisa Scottoline's site for more info on her other titles (many are linked through common characters) and pick up one today if you haven't already. Or, if you're like me and you had a have a perception about a certain kind of book out there, ask around and find one to try. You never know, you may happily find yourself proven wrong like I was.

And as an added bonus for those of you adding this to your TBR list, BN.com has the hardcover on bargain right now!


Vickie said...

I don't like Grisham either, but I do love reading Scottoline! DEVIL'S CORNER is my favorite so far.

Jennifer said...

I don't know if we ever discussed that, but I really, really dislike Grisham as well. Scottoline I do like. I think I was 12 when I read Helter Skelter (which started the whole forensics thing), but I liked the entire book, found it fascinating. Guess that explains a lot! :) P.S. Yeaa for tv crack!