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Acts of Malice [Hardcover]

Perri O'Shaughnessy
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 13 1999
New York Times bestselling author Perri O'Shaughnessy has created a true American original in the character Nina Reilly, a tough but tenderhearted attorney who has been hailed by readers and critics as one of the most interesting heroines in legal thrillers today. Now, in Acts of Malice, Perri O'Shaughnessy has crafted her most spellbinding novel to date, raising the level of suspense and narrative tension to nail-biting new heights as Nina Reilly takes on a murder case that exposes the dark side of Lake Tahoe's glamorous ski resorts.

With his brother Alex recently killed in a headline-making accident that occurred while they were skiing together, Jim Strong, the scion of one of South Lake Tahoe's most prominent families and the owners of the posh Paradise Ski Resort, fears he may be indicted in his brother's death. When the coroner announces that Alex died from injuries unrelated to the accident, Jim is charged with murder. As Nina prepares to defend her client, she has no idea that the case will lead her to a terrifying confrontation with a psychopath or threaten all that she holds most dear.

She never expects to witness a perplexing and tangled set of loyalties and alliances within the Strong family: a father obsessed with his dead son's ghost and who wants nothing to do with the surviving son; Alex's widow, a mercurial snowboarding champion who still carries a torch for Jim; and Jim's beautiful wife, Heidi, who may have been having an affair with Alex. Further complicating matters is Assistant District Attorney Collier Hallowell, back from sabbatical. Determined to put Jim Strong behind bars, he's equally resolved to pick up romantically where he and Nina left off.

As Nina works a flawed and troubling case and gets involved in an unexpected love affair, the two sides of her life come crashing the ultimate act of malice.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Nobody in the exploding field of legal thrillers catches the day-to-day life of a working lawyer better than the O'Shaughnessy sisters--lawyer Pamela and writer Mary, who collaborate under the joint byline of Perri. This is the fifth in their series about lawyer Nina Reilly. O'Shaughnessy expertly balances Reilly's life between the working half and the private half (raising her 16-year-old son as a single mother and finding the time and place for romance). The fact that both parts take place in the heavenly venue of Lake Tahoe only adds to the reading pleasure.

Acts of Malice begins with a jolt: the manager of one of the area's largest ski resorts is charged with the murder of his brother, and hires Nina to defend him. But this will not be an easy case for Nina since the prosecutor, Collier Hallowell, is the man who shook up her life so violently by walking out on her a year before. Also, Nina and her immediate circle find themselves in danger from the very client that they are defending.

Other examples of the O'Shaughnessy expertise include Breach of Promise and Motion to Suppress. --Dick Adler

From Publishers Weekly

Attorney and single mother Nina Reilly makes her fifth appearance in the bestselling author O'Shaughnessy sisters' (Breach of Promise; Obstruction of Justice) new legal thriller, this one set on the ski slopes of Lake Tahoe. Reilly's client in this case is Jim Strong, a local ski bum whose family owns the swanky Paradise resort. Jim stands accused of killing his younger brother Alex, who was stomped to death by someone wearing ski boots whose imprints on Alex's chest match the soles of Jim's footgear. But the suspect claims he's being framed by his adulterous wife, Heidi, who gave a statement to police and has gone into hiding. The case gives Reilly the willies, as disturbing events ensue that cast doubt on her client. Philip Strong, father of the dead youth and the suspect, is behaving strangely, and the victim's wife, a libidinous ski bunny made wealthy through inheritance, seems to have more feelings for Jim than for her dead husband. And the prosecutor, the passionate Collier Hallowell, warns Reilly off the case, hinting that Jim is a psychopath who killed animals as a kid and will seek vengeance on her if her defense doesn't get him off the hook. Reilly almost takes the latter advice, because she and Hallowell are in love and talking about having kids together. Their romance strains credibility and verges on syrupy: "He kissed her like he was searching for something, looking for her, only her." The central question of whether Jim is a murderer or a sap has an answer as predictable as the love scenes are corny. Sisters Pamela and Mary O'Shaughnessy (writing under their vaguely disguised pen name) do well to surround Reilly with a well-drawn cast of characters who provide a pleasant diversion even after the suspense has fizzled. $300,000 marketing campaign; author tour. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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First Sentence
THROUGH HER OFFICE door, Nina Rielly heard a gentle guitar and coaxing voice of Carlos Botelho, that singing love is a paradox that disappears the moment you find it. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine plot - bad psychology May 25 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I admit: this is a fast reading novel, exciting and full of suspense. And I enjoyed reading it. But there is a major flaw: its psychology. It is not really conceivable that the lawyer of the alleged murderer falls in love with her adversary, the lawyer who represents the prosecution. In the courtroom they fight against each other using more or less unfair methods and tricks. Then they go to bed and do not speak a single word about the case. The characters of the alleged killer's wife and his father - among others - are not credible in their action and motivation either.
But if you do not mind this, you can read a novel with a fine plot and in addition a well worked out setting that shows more realism than the characters.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Cliche Dec 31 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is hard to believe anyone would publish such poorly written works. The characters are one-dimensional cliches, the plot thin and predictable. A total waste of money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FEISTY, FIGHTIN', FEUDIN', FUN AND FAMILY Dec 5 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
With a Perri O'Shaughnessy novel, one can rest assured that two heads are definitely better than one!
The Nina Reilly Series introduces the reader to Nina Reilly, the new kid on the block just trying to survive, not only in her chosen profession of the law, but in her family life as well. Throughout the novel Nina's experiences are believable, complicated and life altering. I totally enjoy all the characters in the book lending support to Nina and one in particular, Nina's -- more than just a secretary - Sandy - who somehow seems to help Nina keep afloat.
Additionally, the series shows compassionate writing with a closeness for family and friends.
Repeat characters are a favorite read for me and when I pick up one of the Nina Reilly series, it's like have old friends in the house, a little older and a little wiser with each book and each situation but the same dedication and loyalty. The authors have a a true knack for realistic story telling and realistic conclusions.
I thank the authors.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent Dec 2 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
This is the first book I've read in this series. It grabbed me good at the beginning with the crime/legal story line, but became so contrived and simplistic with the "romance" between Nina and Collier. It's almost as if I could tell where one sister stopped writing and the other started. I felt like a ping-pong ball going back and forth between great suspense and tacky romance. I stuck with it because the "thriller" aspect was very good.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Well written, a quick read. The court drama and mystery of her client keeps you, but what is truly unforgettable is the story with Nina & Colin, a must read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great summertime beach read July 7 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Easy to follow, good whodunnit book - the romance is a little over the edge but great paperback for the beach!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unplumbed Depths May 9 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
No matter how well-written a mystery, and "Acts of Malice" is very well-written, it is not usual to wrench the reader from interest to warmth to fear to sobs--but this book does all that and more.
Tahoe lawyer Nina Reilly takes on a case that makes her uneasy from the first, but she doesn't know why. She agrees to defend Jim Strong, a young and handsome champion skier accused of the brutal murder of his equally young and handsome brother, Alex. The brother supposedly died in a skiing accident, but the coroner uncovers what he thinks are signs of horrifically foul play. And the District Attorney's office believes him.
Nina is soon pitted against the man she was interested in a while back, but who had left Tahoe to mend from a personal tragedy. Assistant DA Collier Hallowell has returned, healed, happy--and eager to renew his budding interest in Nina. As a beautiful and meaningful romance develops between the two, they must somehow keep their personal lives out of their professional milieu, and it isn't easy. Collier is convinced that Jim Strong is a particularly violent and vicious murderer. Nina is ethically bent on defending Strong--but for the first time in her career, she has nagging, secret doubts about her client. And so does the reader.
Did Jim Strong really stomp his injured brother to death? Is he an evil psychopath, as the prosecution, including Nina's own boyfriend, believes? And if he is, is Nina in danger? Can she ethically drop a client, and even if she could, will she do so?
As she struggles with these doubts and fears, Nina's feelings for Collier deepen and blossom, so that the reader, like the principals themselves, bounces back and forth between the beauty of human love and the horror of human violence.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful March 6 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was fantastic--I could not put it down--Great authors--They really keep you on your toes. Best book I have read in years. Now I want to get thier other books. When do I clean my house???
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