Scottoline's newest domestic drama revolves around Jill, a woman who seemingly has her life all together, three years after a bad divorce. Jill is a pediatrician, a single mother of a 13 year old girl and engaged to Sam, a loving professional man. One night she opens her door to her ex-step-daughter, Abby, a 19 year old female she hasn't seen in three years. Abby is drunk and distraught due to the fact that her father is dead, and she thinks he was murdered, even if the the police don't agree. She implores Jill to help her prove it. Sam is totally against Jill getting involved in her ex's family problems. He is adamant about it. In fact, everyone is adamant about their views in the beginning of this novel, but it all gets turned around. Jill gets involved anyway, not able to turn her back on Abby, who suddenly goes missing and presents another piece to a convoluted puzzle. Now the pediatrician is a die-hard amateur sleuth, letting no one get in her way.
The novel takes you through "Hollywood-ish" type scenarios, car chases, bad guys, shootings, undercover agents, etc., a lot of twists and turns. I found the plausibility lacking here and there, but admit it was entertaining nonetheless. I was bothered by some of the dialogue and not sure why, but upon finishing this up, I think it was that these seemingly strong characters, adamant in their feelings and viewpoints, acquiesce by the end of the novel. It's hard to give you, dear prospective reader, an example without a spoiler, but when a character that was described as cold and unyielding is gushing "I love you's" towards the end, it just doesn't ring true to the type of character one has been reading about. Perhaps more character development at the onset would've helped, about the girls especially, and even Sam. I also found it hard to believe that Jill could be so "nice"... the "turn the other cheek" type, towards her step-daughters confrontations and nasty remarks, with nary a sarcastic thought in reply. After all, the stepdaughters are women now, not children, and yet she took all the bad-mouthing and public insults, and stuck her neck out, for them, personally and professionally, risking an ideal future with her own daughter and the man of her dreams. I disliked this about Jill. It is hard to believe that a single mother would put herself and her loved ones at risk like this.
The message here is that a "mother's love" has no expiration date or borders, it never stops. True enough for most, but not in all situations or for all step-moms. Even though I was entertained by it and can see what other "beach readers" might like about it, I didn't find myself "involved," if you will, with any of the characters, which is what makes a reading experience "good" for me. I would recommend Scottoline's legal dramas to this domestic one. My thanks to Amazon's Vine program for the opportunity to preview and review this novel to be released on April 10, 2012.