Lady Killer


Author: Scottoline, Lisa

Title: Lady Killer

Genre: Thriller

Publication Date: 2008

Geographical Setting: Philadelphia

Time Period: Present Day

Series: Book 12 in the Rosato and Associates/Bennie Rosato series

Plot Summary:
Mary DiNunzio, a lawyer at the all-female Philadelphia law firm Rosato and Associates, is busy handling the cases of her Italian-American community in South Philly when she gets an unexpected visit from someone in her past. Trish Gambone was the queen bee of a clique of mean girls at Mary’s all-girl high school, but now the tables are turned and Trish is coming to Mary with a big problem. Trish’s boyfriend Bobby—someone that Mary also dated—has turned into an abusive, hard-drinking drug dealer for the mob. Trish wants to leave him but she is afraid for her life. Mary counsels her to seek legal protection, but Trish refuses, and the next day, Trish vanishes. Fearing the worst, and inundated by hostile visits from Trish’s hair stylist girlfriends, Mary uses her smarts and her contacts with the police department to try to locate Trish before it’s too late. When dead bodies start turning up, Mary finds herself in too deep, with her job, her family, and her life on the line.

While Mary’s character and her attachment to her clients is well-developed, her family, friends, and other characters are more familiar, especially those who have shown up before in this series. The fast-paced plot is action-oriented and features plenty of twists and turns. Although Mary is a lawyer, the book is light on legal details. Mary never sets foot in the courtroom; instead most of the story takes place on the streets or at the police station. The story is emotionally charged, with characters in danger and secrets from the past coming to the surface, but somehow the tone of the book never gets too dark. The dialogue, especially between Mary and Trish’s big-haired friends, is entertaining, and the story is resolved nicely at the end of the book, complete with a new love interest for the main character.

Appeal Terms: legal thriller, investigative details, plot-centered, strong women, moral dilemmas, cinematic, compelling, entertaining, women in jeopardy

Subject Headings: Legal Thriller, Philadelphia, Pa., Italian Americans, Urban Neighborhoods, Organized Crime, Women Lawyers, Domestic Violence

Three Terms that Best Describe the Book: women lawyer, plot-centered, women in jeopardy

Three Nonfiction Titles:

Cruel Games: A Brilliant Professor, a Loving Mother, a Brutal Murder by Rose Ciotta
– When Ellen Robb turns up dead after announcing plans to divorce her husband, University of Pennsylvania professor Rafael Robb, after years of alleged psychological abuse at his hands, investigators, suspecting Robb of the crime, race against time to prove his guilt, despite a dearth of evidence.

The Last Gangster: From Cop to Wiseguy to FBI Informant by George Anastasia
– Details the journey of his journey of Ron Previte from corrupt cop and wiseguy to FBI informant, his role in the Philadelphia-South Jersey mob, and the clash that led to the fall of the region’s mob bosses

Dangerous Relationships: How to Identify and Respond to the Seven Warning Signs of a Troubled Relationship by Noelle Nelson
– Points out seven important warning signs and patterns that can predict violence in a relationship, and explains how to deal with potential or actual abusers

Three Fiction Titles:

Most Wanted by Michelle Martinez
– A federal prosecutor and single mother walks into a crime while on a walk with her restless baby in New York. When she takes on the case to resuscitate her stalled career, she finds herself stalked by the killer.

Temporary Sanity by Rose Connors
– Lawyer Marty Nickerson, willing to tackle impossible cases, becomes involved in several murder cases, involving a father who killed his son’s murderer on television, and a battered woman accused of murdering her parole officer.

Trophy Widow by Michael A. Kahn
– Sassy St. Louis lawyer Rachel Gold, who comes from a large Jewish family, defends a widow unjustly accused of her husband’s murder, and uncovers corruption in St. Louis politics and government, putting her own life in danger.

– Debbie


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