Defense attorney Nina Reilly has bad luck with men: one marriage ended abruptly, and another ended in tragedy. Still, her misfortunes with the opposite sex are nothing compared to the trouble she has finding a decent client. In her sixth outing, Move to Strike
, Nina's defending a minor who's a major pain: Nikki Zack, a mouthy, rebellious teenager who's being tried as an adult in the murder of her uncle, a wealthy plastic surgeon. Like a lot of people in Lake Tahoe, Nikki disliked Bill Sykes, who showed both greed and snobbery to Nikki and her scatterbrained mother, Daria. He discouraged their familial overtures except when he cheated them in a land deal. Nevertheless, Nikki claims she didn't kill him, even though she was spotted sneaking around his pool on the night of the murder, and the prosecution's case against her is based on a blood sample that indicates she wielded the murder weapon. Nina is particularly struck by two strange facts: Sykes's son Chris was killed in a plane crash at almost the same time Sykes died, and Sykes's widow, Beth, is almost abnormally quick to front the money for her niece's defense, no questions asked.
Nina knows Nikki saw something or someone at Sykes's house, but she's not sure whether Nikki's protecting her sleazy, housebreaking boyfriend or Daria, whose vagueness is almost too extreme to believe. Nikki is placed under house arrest, but that's not enough to keep her--or Nina and her son Bob--safe when a stranger starts calling. When the treasure trove of unimpressive-looking rocks that Nikki took from Sykes's underwater hiding place turns out to be something completely unexpected, the ring of suspects widens and danger creeps closer. Nina teams with Paul van Wagoner, the investigator (familiar from Acts of Malice and previous Nina Reilly mysteries) she can't quite seem to disentangle herself from, to help sort the loose ends from the dead ends. And there are plenty of both.
The O'Shaughnessy sisters (Perri is a pen name for Pamela and Mary) are taking new risks and increasing the stakes with every book, and Move to Strike shows they can pull it off. The characters are deftly drawn and the plotting masterfully complex. The pacing falls a bit short of heart-stopping; the courtroom scenes serve to up the stakes for Nikki, yet don't really add much tension. But this series is still young and keeps getting better and better. Grisham and Turow, check your rear-view mirrors: there's a new writer in the fast lane. --Barrie Trinkle
From Publishers Weekly
Crime knocks at lawyer Nina Reilly's door once again in this breathy legal drama, the sixth in a series, set in the resort community of Lake Tahoe, Nev. This time it is single mother Reilly's 13-year-old son, Bob, who steers her toward a new case, begging her to defend his friend, 16-year-old Nikki Zack. Nikki is accused of killing her rich uncle, plastic surgeon Bill Sykes, with a 16th-century samurai sword. She says she didn't do it, but the evidence suggests otherwise. Nikki was on the scene at the time of the killing and was known to hold a grudge against her selfish and stingy uncle. Even Reilly, a softie for the underdog, has to admit it doesn't look good for Nikki, until several other suspects pop upAdisgruntled patients of Sykes, a lecherous business partner, other bitter family members. The case is confused by the death of Sykes's 19-year-old son the same day in a plane crash while returning to Lake Tahoe from L.A. Complicating matters further is a mining claim in northern Nevada that's yielding lots of high-grade opals. The claim used to belong to Nikki's family until Sykes convinced Nikki's ditzy mom, Daria, to sell it to him at a steep discount. O'Shaughnessy, the pseudonym for sisters Mary and Pamela O'Shaughnessy, splits the action between Reilly's courtroom maneuvering and the detective work of her longtime investigator, Paul van Wagoner, whose role is greatly expanded this time around. Van Wagoner lacks the requisite magnetism for co-star status, and the plot swivels in a few unlikely directions, leading up to a far-fetched finale. Nevertheless, Reilly fans should enjoy this latest entry in a thriving series. Agent, Nancy Yost. Major ad/promo; BOMC and Mystery Guild main selections; Doubleday Book Club and Literary Guild alternates. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.