Dead Ringer Hardcover – May 27 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Another bestseller is on the docket for Scottoline (Courting Trouble; Rough Justice; The Vendetta Defense), with a new legal caper featuring the lady lawyers of series heroine Bennie Rosato's Philadelphia law firm, Rosato and Associates. This time out it's Bennie playing the lead role, as she fights to save her financially sinking firm; mother her lovable partners, Mary DiNunzio and Judy Carrier; solve the murder of a valuable client; and battle her evil twin, Alice. The eviction notice is on the door when suave Frenchman Robert St. Amien steps in with a class-action suit that promises not only to stave off Bennie's landlord but to shovel millions of dollars into the firm's bottomed-out bank account. The fact that our heroine has never handled a class-action suit doesn't faze her for more than a nanosecond. Bennie has her wallet stolen and soon becomes the target of increasingly sinister attacks, until it becomes clear that Alice (last seen in Mistaken Identity) is back in town and bent on revenge. When the stakes are upped to murder, Bennie realizes she's in big trouble. Fortunately, hunky SEAL David Holland shows up to save her dog, act as bodyguard and supply the love interest. Of course, he has a dark secret, but this just makes him more appealing and sympathetic when it is revealed. Occasional awkward writing intrudes ("Anger bubbled like lifeblood to her cheeks"), there are too many pantyhose jokes, and the solution to the mystery is a clunker, but readers caught up in the fast and furious wordplay will hardly notice. Bennie grows on you, and soon enough you're rooting for the home team and laughing at her corny jokes.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Bennie Rosato's all-female Philadelphia law firm has seen better days so it's no surprise when Bennie jumps at the chance to represent Robert St. Amien, a debonair European businessman whose U.S. interests are being stolen by a naive trade association's collusive practices. Though Bennie sees dollar signs, there is a group of similarly situated foreign businesses also seeking damages, which brings the case to class-action status, something about which neither Bennie nor her associates possess much expertise. Bennie is game to learn as she goes, but her learning curve is slowed by other distractions, mainly the reappearance of her estranged identical twin sister (from Mistaken Identity, 1999), who is impersonating Bennie and causing no end of trouble. This episode is a bit short on thrills, but it's nice to have Bennie back in the spotlight in a series whose focus jumps among the four partners. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
In previous books in the series, all the characters except Mary came off as strong and independent, but you always got the feeling that Bennie was in charge and kept that fine line between employer and employees. That line has been erased. Bennie is portrayed as "one of the girls," and the associates (whom she annoyingly refers to as "the kids" throughout the book) seem to have taken over the asylum, demanding to know Bennie's financial situation as if it's their right, and standing by their homegirl as one united entity. That's all well and good, but in the real world, single women would be hitting the pavement looking for interviews if they found out their job might not last another two months. The dialog between them seems as if they're in a high school home ec class, filled with silly slang that isn't befitting a group of women professionals. And some of the writing left a lot to be desired -- his change jingled unhappily in his pocket as he ran? Do coins have the ability to be happy or unhappy? Where on earth would Ms. Scottoline come up with drivel like this?
The problem with the story is that it's too scattered. Bennie's twin is back playing havoc with her life, but we never really understand why, even after she tells us. She breaks into Bennie's house and kidnaps her dog, who Bennie obviously loves dearly, and all she does the next day is put the dog in the basement as a safeguard? Then there's the "mysterious stranger" who shows up to save the dog and suddenly devotes his life to trailing Bennie to make sure she's safe. Wow. That sure happens every day.Read more ›
We return to Bennie Rosato and find her just as snarky, sarcastic, and tough as ever. The reader still being Kate Burton really helped, as she's got the perfect voice for the character.
Now, since I've been reading this out of order, some characters I knew weren't in it (apparently, the relationship that began in 'Legal Tender' didn't work out, for one), and I didn't know that Bennie had a twin (I must have missed a book between this and the last one). But when her twin starts to show up and make malicious attempts to ruin Bennie's life, things get interesting. Especially when Bennie's own little law firm is on the financial rocks. And when her biggest client ends up murdered, Bennie's in real trouble - because what if the murderer is her twin? Or are they unrelated? Or, is someone else also trying to ruin Bennie?
Solid stuff, this story, interesting, and the mystery had me confounded (bonus points for that). Thumbs-up, especially for Kate Burton's reading voice.
Before long, she's engaged forced to defend her very honor by solving two mysterious crimes. In the process, the danger grows to unacceptable levels . . . and a mysterious, handsome stranger becomes her Good Samaritan. With her hear aflutter, she finds it hard to concentrate on her legal practice.
Dead Ringer started off to be a remarkably entertaining book. Around two-thirds of the way through, the book began to unwind from its excellent beginning. The first weakness is that Ms. Scottoline makes too little use of the other characters who work at the Rosato firm. Although they are in many scenes, the narration doesn't shift to them . . . or give us enough of a sense about how they feel. As a result, the associates and staff seem more than a little too understanding about Bennie's financial problems.Read more ›
Lisa Scottoline brings us through this mystery with attitude and wit, never allowing a serious moment to go by without a quirky afterthought. The writing was informed and just right, and while certain things just pop out of nowhere, this book has no pretentions. The tension its plot could have had in unbearable proportions was lightened by the exceptional character of Bennie Rosato who, even in the direst of situations, never takes herself seriously. Bennie is pushy, but endearingly so, and she doesn't have to apologize for it either. Her character and St. Amien's was the best developed in the entire cast. Bennie, however, could've done without a certain Navy Seal. A hefty reward and a thank you would've sufficed. ^_~ All in all, it was a good book and I would recommend it for the Murder-Mystery enthusiast who just wants to sit back, relax and take a break from intensity.
Most recent customer reviews
I like all of Scottoline's books and this is also a quick, enterntaining read. Unfortunately, the evit twin of Bernie's returns to cause more chaos. Read morePublished on June 5 2004 by Judith Schonhoff
It's my first book by Lisa Scottoline. Maybe I didn't pick the best one by this author but I found this book without much suspense, without well developed and believable characters... Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2004 by Vahania63
This is a good book in the Rosato series, but please, Ms. Scottoline: write the women attorneys as a BIT more mature than seeming as giggly members of a girls club; and PLEASE... Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2004 by G. H. Giroux
Dead Ringer caught me off guard because I frankly did not expect a lot from it. Boy was I surprised when I discovered that this is an incredible legal thriller that rivals many of... Read morePublished on Dec 4 2003 by Jerry L. McGahagin
I read this book based on the "best-seller" status combined with good reviews on-line. What a joke. I was embarrassed for this author! Read morePublished on Sept. 8 2003
I like Lisa Scottoline. Really I do, but this is one of the worst books I read by her. She is a great writer, with such good books as Running from the Law, Courting Trouble,... Read morePublished on Aug. 30 2003 by Amazon Customer
I brought this book based on the good reviews but ended up walking away wondering if I read the same book the other reviewers are raving about. Read morePublished on Aug. 21 2003 by nodice
I listened to the audio version of this book and I thought the narrator was fantastic. Unfortunately, the material left much to be desired. Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2003