Lisa Scottoline is an accomplished author of many books with many characters, but she is never as good as when she is writing about the characters associated with the "Rosato & Associates Novels." When she enters this world she is at her most creative and most entertaining. Luckily her new novel, Betrayed, is one of those books.
In Betrayed the focus is on Judy Carrier, an associate at the law firm now known as Rosato & Dinunzio. Judy's best friend and associate Mary Dinunzio has made partner. Judy is very happy for her but also a little bit jealous. Her life is routine and Mary's promotion just highlights her problems. Mary is also getting married while Judy is stuck in a rut with her boyfriend, going neither backwards nor forward.
One day Judy makes plans to visit her Aunt Barb, a relative to whom she is particularly close. At her Aunt Barb's she is introduced to Iris Juarez. Iris has become her aunt's best friend much to the chagrin of Judy's mother, Delia. Iris seems nice enough but a little vague on certain aspects of her life.
Shortly after Judy meets Iris she is dead and Judy and her family are plunged into a nightmare of violence and uncertainty. Also at this point the novel takes off like a speeding bullet and all the reader can do is hold on for dear life. Deaths, threats and mysteries pile up in Judy's life and she races from point to point trying to discover who, what and why before the surge of events overpower and overwhelm her.
Sometimes the tempo of a plot can be a detriment or a plus. In the case of Betrayed it is both. It is a detriment because it makes all of the scenes and facts fly by too quickly to be absorbed unless you want to go back and re-read them. It is a plus because it keeps the reader tearing through the pages all excited as to what is going to happen next.
Overall this is one of Scottoline's better books because of the likability of the characters, especially Judy, and the excitement generated within the pages of the story. Scottoline apparently knows these characters backwards and forwards and shows it in her complete mastery of the plot. You know this is an author who knows what she wants to say and knows how to say it entertainingly.
I have read other books by Scottoline that focused on other situations and other characters and I will continue to do so. Still I always know the best is yet to come when the jacket contains a statement that this is a "Rosato & Associates Novel." It is as good as a money-back guarantee.
Betrayed is published by St Martin's Press. It contains 352 pages and sells for $27.99.
Jackie K Cooper