11/15/2013 10:26 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Scottoline's Accused Is Chock Full of Great Characters

Lisa Scottoline's latest novel Accused is listed as a "Rosato and Associates Novel." This is important as the characters who have starred in this series are among the most popular Scottoline has ever created. This is borne out by the fact this novel is the twelfth book in that series. The "Rosato and Associates" refers to the law firm in which Mary DiNunzio has just been promoted to partner.

It has been a long hard road for Mary as she has honed her legal skills and made an impression on Bennie Rosato. Now she is an equal partner and that will take some getting used to as she is not a person easily impressed with her own skills. Plus she worries about her relationship with Bennie as a full partner and with her friends Judy and Ann as she becomes their boss.

She also has other things on her mind such as her love affair with Anthony Rotunno, one of the nicest guys to ever walk the earth. He loves her and she loves him, but she also loves the memory of her first husband. Can she actually put aside her memories of her first love and begin a life with a new love especially since he wants to marry her? That is one of her quandaries.

She also has a new case. A thirteen year old genius named Allegra Gardner wants her to investigate the murder of her older sister. She thinks the wrong person was convicted of the murder, even though he pled guilty. Her parents are against reopening this case but Mary, being Mary, wants to help Allegra.

Although the case, which is the center of the story, is interesting, the enjoyment of the book comes in the characters. Mary is fascinating but so are Bennie, Judy and Ann. You must also include in that list her mother and father, plus her boyfriend, and a group of men who live near her parents who are all called Tony. It is safe to say this book is chock full of delightful people who enhance the pleasure of the reading.

Scottoline knows all of these characters and she makes them even more lifelike in this novel. They come in and out of Mary's story pulling in one emotion after another from the reader. Even if there wasn't a case on which to hang the plot, a book full of these people's conversations and actions would be worth the price of a copy.

Scottoline is at her best writing the "Rosato and Associates" stories and this latest is one of her best. Keep 'em coming, Lisa. We have really missed this group!

"Accused" is published by St Martin's Press. It contains 368 pages and sells for $27.99.

-- Jackie K. Cooper