I was hooked on Lisa Scottoline's novels after listening to my first one on CD. Each of her 13 bestsellers is filled with creative cases involving clever and dedicated characters who are street smart and likable; if you're ever in a jam, you'll want them on your side. In DADDY'S GIRL, Scottoline detours from her popular series involving a growing Philadelphia law firm comprised of female attorneys. This time, a law professor who is a year away from tenure is her unlikely heroine.
Natalie Greco is daddy's girl, raised in a suburban Italian family that still treats her like a 12-year-old. When Nat finds herself attracted to a colleague who is the antithesis of her Italian, family-friendly boyfriend, she begins to realize that it's time for her to start making more decisions based on who she has become rather than what her daddy would like. So, when Angus Holt invites her to join him at the legal clinic he has begun inside Chester County Correctional, she agrees. Unfortunately, a riot breaks out and Nat barely escapes being viciously assaulted by one of the inmates before Correctional Officer Ron Saunders whispers these dying words to Nat: "Tell my wife it's under the floor."
This message leads Nat on an adventure that finds her running from the law she has sworn to uphold, as she is accused of murder and drug dealing in a series of well-plotted events that clearly point to her guilt. As Nat tries desperately to get the message to Ron's wife, her life is threatened by those who don't want her meddling in the affair any more than she already has. But, with her freedom threatened, Nat has no choice but to try to uncover the plot that has led to the chaos that her life has become.
With her world turned upside down, Nat is forced to face some tough questions that life usually lets slide. For example, if I am accused of a crime, won't I be presumed innocent until proven guilty? Or, if I do an excellent job at work, my efforts are sure to be rewarded, won't they? Or, can I expect my boyfriend to answer his cell phone when I've used my last cent to call him even if he's at a Sixers game with my brother?
Nat become stronger as she resolves to establish herself as a more independent woman. Gutsier than any law professor I've ever heard of, Nat moves toward clearing her name and solving the mystery as she develops her own leads and follows them to their shocking conclusions.
Warning: This is not a book you want to plan on reading in short spurts. Once you start it, you'll need to set aside several hours at a time to move from one breathtaking revelation to the next.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on January 7, 2011