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Corrupted: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel


Corrupted: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel

Your past will always come back to bite you. That pretty much sums up CORRUPTED, the third installment in the compelling Rosato & DiNunzio series. Lisa Scottoline begins this winning novel with a short but addictive opening sentence, one that sinks the hook and draws the reader into deep and dark waters.

As longtime Scottoline fans are aware, Bennie Rosato has been a practicing attorney --- the quintessential Philadelphia lawyer --- for well over a decade, developing a hard exterior to protect the softer interior as chronicled during the long-running Rosato & Associates series and continuing with her present law firm partnership with Mary DiNunzio. It is no surprise, then, that CORRUPTED begins with Bennie walking into Philadelphia police headquarters to meet a client. But two other surprises await. The first is that the new client is a former one, a young man who Bennie represented over a decade before. The second is that he is accused of murder, and as Bennie herself notes, it has been quite some time since she has defended a murder suspect. She is driven, though, to defend this particular individual. And why is that?

"A way out of Jason’s dilemma seems highly unlikely, yet Scottoline, as skilled an author of courtroom thrillers as there is, deftly maneuvers the narrative to a satisfying ending."

As we learn in short order, 13 years previously, Bennie answered a fateful call to represent a 12-year-old boy named Jason Lefkavick. Jason had been sent to a juvenile detention center after defending himself against Richie Grusini, a school bully. The school had a zero-tolerance policy for fighting, and, in short order, Jason found himself incarcerated. His father contacted the already famous Bennie to defend his son, despite having no experience in juvenile court. A tragic miscarriage of justice occurred, for reasons that are revealed piecemeal throughout CORRUPTED. It is a case that has weighed heavily on Bennie since then, resulting in “what ifs” and regrets.

Now, in the present, Jason is seeking representation once again, this time for murdering the now-adult Richie. The two encountered each other in a bar and were ejected. Jason subsequently followed Richie into an alley where he confronted him once more. Richie, according to Jason, sucker-punched him and knocked him out. When Jason regained consciousness, Richie was dead from a stab wound and Jason had a knife in his hand. Jason insists that the knife isn’t his and that he has no idea how Richie wound up dead. It seems as if it’s an all-but-impossible case to defend, but Bennie feels honor-bound to represent Jason because of what occurred over a decade before, in order to make up for the needlessly wasted years of Jason’s life.

Bennie’s problem, though, is that she has no defense. The prosecution had offered a plea agreement that Jason vociferously rejected, so she really has no choice but to proceed to trial. At first, Bennie is treading water and little else. Then the slenderest of opportunities presents itself. What results will have you on the edge of your seat and will echo in your mind for days after you reach the startling conclusion, in which a justice so long delayed ultimately may be granted.

CORRUPTED is an extremely suspenseful work. A way out of Jason’s dilemma seems highly unlikely, yet Scottoline, as skilled an author of courtroom thrillers as there is, deftly maneuvers the narrative to a satisfying ending. Whether you are a loyal or occasional reader of Scottoline’s work, this one will not leave you disappointed.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on November 13, 2015

Corrupted: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel
by Lisa Scottoline

  • Publication Date: August 2, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 1250104610
  • ISBN-13: 9781250104618