Posts Tagged ‘strong women’

Lady Killer

October 7, 2009

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

Riders of the Purple Sage

September 30, 2009

Title: Riders of the Purple Sage

Author: Zane Grey

Publication Date: 1912

Number of Pages: 265

Genre: Western

Geographical Setting: South Utah

Time Period: 1871

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Jane Withersteen is a single wealthy Mormon woman living in the canyon country of southern Utah in 1871 managing the ranch and surrounding property, which includes valuable spring water, she has inherited from her late father. When Jane refuses to succumb to pressure and marry Tull, a church elder who practices polygamy, she comes under attack from the Mormon community. As punishment for her refusal to submit to the directives of the Church elders, Jane faces ever increasing persecution from her fellow Mormon brethren. Bern Venters, a Gentile rider whom Jane has befriended, is captured and about to be whipped because of her association with him when an infamous gunman and Mormon killer named Lassiter arrives and prevents the punishment. Lassiter who is searching for information about the mysterious death of his sister and the fate of her young daughter finds himself drawn to Jane and Fay, the Gentile child she has adopted, and decides to stay at Withersteen Ranch to help her defend it while Venters heads into the canyons to follow the trail of a gang of cattle rustlers and a masked rider who rides with them. Jane, grateful for Lassiter’s help, sees this as an opportunity to persuade Lassiter to turn away from his life of violence.  As Jane struggles to hold on to Fay and her property in the face of evil, secrecy, and escalating pressure, she finds herself questioning her Mormon faith and the beliefs she has always lived by.

Subject Headings: Texas Rangers; Outlaws — Texas; Women Ranchers; Gunfighters; Western Stories.

Appeal: deliberate, measured, compelling, introspective, reflective characters, inner struggle, strong women, heroic loners, complex storyline, multiple plot lines, action-oriented at times, resolution, redemption, American old west,  detailed settings of mountains and canyons in Utah, evocative descriptions of landscape, bittersweet, contemplative, darker, lyrical, cowboy jargon

Three terms that best describe this book: evocative descriptions of landscape, inner struggles, classic western

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Searchers by Alan Le May – Classic western about a Texas Ranger who searches for years for his niece taken prisoner by Comanche raiders. (American old west, searching for missing family members, inner struggles, resolution).

The Warriors Path by Louis L’ Amour – Two brothers in search of a sister-in-law who has been kidnapped travel from colonial America to Jamaica to find her and her kidnappers. White men, hoping to exploit tensions between settlers and the Indians are behind the kidnappings. (Searching for missing family members, action-oriented, villains using others as scapegoats- Mormons used cattle rustlers in Grey novel).

Trail to Cottonwood Falls:  A Ralph Compton Novel by Dusty Richards – Former ranger and cattle driver trying to redeem himself must contend with enemies as he drives a woman rancher’s cattle west. (Strong man fighting against determined enemies, woman ranchers, gunfighters, cattle drives).

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

The Sisterhood: Inside the Lives of Mormon Women by Dorothy Allred Solomon – History of Mormon women in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries.

Painters of Utah’s Canyons and Deserts by Donna Poulton – Collection of 300 paintings and artists’ anecdotes that portray the visual beauty and majesty of Utah’s geography as well as the dangers of the Utah frontier.

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer – Two brothers believing they are acting under direct orders from God murder two family members. The story explores the beliefs and hidden world of Mormon fundamentalism.

Name: Maggie