Book Title: Damaged
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Series: Rosato & DiNunzio #4
Genres: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Legal Thriller, Suspense
Date Read: 08/17/16
Pub Date: 08/16/16
Damaged finds Mary DiNunzio, partner at the all-female law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio, embroiled in one of her most heartbreaking cases yet. Suing the Philadelphia school district to get help for a middle school boy with emotional issues, Mary ends up becoming the guardian ad litem of her minor client. As she goes up against Nick Machiavelli, her opposing counsel and the dark prince of South Philly lawyers who will use any means necessary to defeat her, she becomes more and more invested in the case—and puts everything, including her engagement to her longtime boyfriend, on the line.
Even though this is book #4 in the series, I decided to jump on board and read this first when the opportunity arose. After reading the jacket summary I figured that this would have a similar feel to the Law & Order franchise, and it definitely did. This was the equivalent of having an episode that was extended to go into greater detail about the individual characters of the case, but also a bit into the characters who are reoccurring in the series. While I’m sure there are certain points that might have been more clearly explored in previous books, I didn’t feel the least bit lost reading this as a standalone.
From my understanding, the series fluctuates between focusing more on one of the partners in the firm, and this book chose to focus on Mary DiNunzio. We do get a slight glimpse into her personal life with her fiancé, but that is mostly near the end. The bulk of the book focuses on her case handling defendant Patrick, who is a dyslexic 10 year old suffering in school and facing charges from an altercation with a teacher’s aide. The characters were fleshed out nicely and I particularly liked her creation in Nick Machiavelli; he was so wicked and so greasy that he was an easy villain to despise. There were some particularly graphic and heavy subjects involved, including the revelation of Patrick having been sexually assaulted.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve read a legal thriller and it was a breath of fresh air. This book has a very mainstream approach and I feel it showcases Scottoline’s obvious talent for writing in the genre. Based upon the titles she has chosen for the series, I’m curious if she will pursue use of the full alphabet as Sue Grafton has done with her Kinsey Millhone series; even if she doesn’t I can see this being a long term continuation with a large following. If you have been on the fence with this one I suggest giving it a go, even if you haven’t read the previous three! Really excited to see what name she chooses for book #5 and where the series will take us!
*Many thanks to Lisa for sending me a signed arc; you are a rockstar and I have placed it on my special shelf for keepsies!