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Unfit to Practice [Mass Market Paperback]

Perri O'Shaughnessy
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 1 2003
It’s the moment every attorney fears most...one careless moment that threatens careers, reputations, lives. For Nina Reilly, it will change everything—and ignite a case where her own clients are witnesses against her...and where the defendant is Nina herself.

As an attorney championing desperate people, Nina Reilly has skirted the edges of legal ethics in pursuit of a just result, but she has never before broken the rule of absolute protection of her clients’ secrets. One September night in Lake Tahoe when her unlocked truck is stolen, her life changes forever. Gone are her most sensitive case files, complete with the sometimes brutally candid notes she took while interviewing her clients.

It’s every attorney’s nightmare. And now the worst has happened: The secrets are being revealed, one by one, in ways that will cause the greatest harm. Nina’s own clients complain to the State Bar of California, and suddenly Nina is fighting for her license and her livelihood in a legal proceeding that may ultimately lead her to disbarment. In desperation, Nina turns to her ex-husband, celebrated San Francisco lawyer Jack McIntyre, to represent her.

And as personal tensions erupt between McIntyre and Nina’s sometime boyfriend, private investigator Paul van Wagoner...as reputations are ruined and people begin to die...a chilling pattern of rage and revenge comes into focus. Someone is bent on destroying the lives of Nina’s clients and, in the process, Nina Reilly.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Was there something more criminal than grand theft auto involved in the disappearance of Nina Reilly's truck--and the legal files locked inside it? When confidential information from those files that could endanger Nina's clients and destroy her reputation surfaces, it begins to look as though someone wants to put the feisty Lake Tahoe attorney out of business. There's no shortage of suspects, including a policewoman who blames Nina for short-circuiting her promotion, a client with a guilty secret who's convinced it was Nina's negligence that lost his custody case, and a rival attorney who's seething over all the high-profile clients he's lost because of Nina's growing prominence. With help from her ex-husband, a legal malpractice specialist, and her lover, who's also her investigator, Reilly races the clock to get to the bottom of the smear campaign and save her license to practice in this smart, sexy thriller that makes the most of the author's gifts of clever plotting, characterization, and dramatic tension. Reilly, a single mom whose personal life is as chaotic as her career, is a series heroine who gets more interesting with every new adventure. The conclusion of this one, the author's eighth, finds Reilly pointed in a new direction with plenty of interesting possibilities for the future. --Jane Adams --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Penned by sisters Pamela and Mary O'Shaughnessy, this eighth novel to feature South Lake Tahoe attorney Nina Reilly puts the lawyer in the defendant's chair. Ever since she was a little girl, Nina has believed that rules are what people use to make sense of the world and that law is a way of enforcing the rules to keep the world sane. But when her truck is stolen, along with her three most sensitive case files, her sane world turns topsy-turvy. In the wrong hands, those files could compromise a client's chance at fair visitation rights, affect a second client's insurance claim and put two girls at risk from the murderer whose crime they witnessed. Suddenly, Nina finds herself facing possible disbarment as she's brought up on disciplinary charges before the California State Bar Court. Current boyfriend Paul and ex-husband Jack try to help Nina figure out who stole the files and, more importantly, who is trying to destroy her life. The initial setup of Nina's predicament is taut as a wire, but the story bogs down in court, where much of the testimony, while realistic, is filler: a space-occupying rehash of what the reader already knows. As for the climax, it's so hokey that the dialogue reads like an old Batman episode. Chances are, though, since this is just a first offense, series fans will release this effort on its own recognizance in the hopes that the next case will be a winner.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sisters Pamela and Mary O'Shaughnessy, writing as "Perri", have obviously developed a fan base with seven prior defense attorney Nina Reilly stories. Unfortunately for us, this was our first try by the women, and we seem to have been stuck with one of their poorer efforts. The most exciting thing to happen in the plot was Nina's Bronco being stolen, complete with three confidential client files in the back seat. When all three cases suddenly go sour, and lead to a State Bar hearing against Nina, were we supposed to be surprised? Ex-husband Jack, whom, as a lawyer's lawyer, Nina hires to defend her, and current lover Paul, her regular investigator (she's otherwise a one-lawyer shop, with just Sandy as a secretary), bicker the whole book long in a juvenile attempt to attract Nina's attention and compete with each other: wow! The last third of the book is the disbarment hearing -- and guess who wins. Of course Nina comes up heroine as the Bronco thief is discovered, and then, boom, the authors end this 450 page book with more information in the last 4 pages than the whole rest of the book put together.
We usually enjoy lawyer stories which is what prompted us to try this novel. We were disappointed by the trivial storyline, the complete lack of suspense, and characters who spent most of the time acting like adolescents. Truthfully, we didn't even develop much interest in or sympathy for Nina, who must have avowed her love for the law and her desire to defend the underdog like half a dozen times -- please, we get the drift.
Maybe some of the other O'Shaughnessy books are more fun, but these authors have a long way to go to approach the likes of Turow or Scottoline. Try them instead.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nina Takes a U-Turn Feb. 13 2003
Format:Hardcover
"Unfit to Practice" is either a bold and brilliant move by the O'Shaughnessy sisters to keep their Nina Reilly series alive, or a rush-to-deadline departure from the series' usual content. I think it must be the former.
Nina, the stubborn, beautiful, competent and courageous Lake Tahoe attorney who is central to every book, is a very different woman as this one begins. First of all, she is inexplicably in love with Paul, the private eye who helps her with each case, and who has been her on-again, off-again lover as Nina's mood and marital circumstances dictate. In the last book, "Writ of Execution," they were on again. But nothing prepared this reader for the romantic, almost desperate intensity with which Nina now loves Paul. Where did this come from? For those of us who have been rooting for Paul all along, it's a happy circumstance, but the one-sentence explanation for this turn of events doesn't quite make it.
The plot, however, is a good one. Nina finds herself on the other side of the law as she is called before the California State Bar in a disciplinary action that could cost her everything she holds dear. One careless but very human action--leaving her keys behind in the courtroom--has led to a series of nightmarish disasters. Her car is stolen, and so are the three highly confidential client files she carelessly left in the back seat. Each of the files contains materials that could prove extremely damaging to Nina's clients, and as the plot unfolds, that's exactly what happens.
Struggling to clear her good name, hold on to her career, and also undo the terrible damage done to her clients, Nina enlists not only the help of the stalwart Paul, but also her ex-husband Jack, whom we've heard about but never met.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious plotting.... Sept. 29 2002
Format:Hardcover
Perri O'Shaughnessy, the entertaining sister team of writers, serve up an especially interesting plot for their Lake Tahoe lawyer-heroine, Nina Reilly. Nina's confronted with a situation that could ruin her for life, and three client cases are commingled with her own downfall, when the client files are stolen.
Nina's love life with her investigator is more settled in this outing, although briefly challenged by her ex-husband. Her three clients are diverse, and the reaction and chain events set off by the loss of the files follow widely divergent paths, as well. It's obvious that Nina is someone's target, but who is her enemy?
4 stars due to the complex and interesting plot, and the unique ending, which leaves the reader guessing what direction the series will take in the future. Not nearly as good in characterization or plot fulfillment as previous Nina Reilly episodes, but the O'Shaughnessy novels are heads and shoulders above most courtroom fiction, and I eagerly await the next one!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but not an O'Shaughnessy converter. Sept. 16 2002
Format:Hardcover
For the reader who's followed Nina Reilly through her trials (pun intended) and adversities in the previous seven books, this eighth installment is a must read. However, it's a hinge on Nina's character arc, and as such, it's not a book to win her new fans. It's a book to accomplish another end altogether.
In this story, Nina is enduring the ultimate (for a lawyer) judicial ironical experience: standing trial herself. Of course, our resident Girl Scout committed no felonious act (although she's not so pure as to have avoided FLIRTING with the law a time or two), but in this chronicle, the State of California reviews Nina's right to retain her license in the face of the disappearance of some highly confidential and sensitive client files.
The disappearance of the files isn't enough for a problem in and of itself, but confidential information suddenly materializes publically in ways that harm her clients' welfare... information that could have come only from those missing files. An insidious, unknown "someone" is out to damage Nina's reputation and ultimately destroy her career.
For help, Nina turns to private investigator and sometime-lover Paul van Wagoner, and he in turn engages for her defense his former best friend, her own ex-husband Jack (a state bar attorney). For other means of support, Nina relies on the familiar figures of Sandy Whitefeather, her legal assistant; Sandy's son Wish, a private invesigator in training; and her brother and sister-in-law.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Lawyer's Nightmare
For the legal thriller addict, Unfit To Practice is an interesting fix. The O'Shaughnessy sisters pen a tale that is entertainingly suspenseful. Read more
Published on May 17 2004 by Robert M. Logan
1.0 out of 5 stars Unfit for reading
Slow moving story ... boring read. Total waste of time. Half-way through the book, I dread myself to finish it. Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2003 by "sara2004"
3.0 out of 5 stars First half good`
I have read other books by these authors and liked them. This book started out ok but went downhill. Read more
Published on Oct. 28 2003 by Razldazlrr
2.0 out of 5 stars It fails as a litigation novel
As a practicing attorney I savored the idea of being able to endure a long flight and read a novel written about an area of law that receives scant attention in the popular press:... Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars It fails as a litigation novel
As a practicing attorney I savored the idea of being able to endure a long flight and read a novel written about an area of law that receives scant attention in the popular press:... Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Unft
There sure seems to be no shortage of loyal fans of this series, but after my first Nina Reilly read, I am at a loss as to why. Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Unfit to Read
This is my first and last Perri O'Shaughnessy novel. What a horrible mistake I made in choosing this novel to read on my vacation. A true waste of my valuable time. Read more
Published on July 27 2003 by E. Baca
4.0 out of 5 stars Move her back to her cabin!
I was a little disappointed with the ending of this book, and I want the secretary back; they can keep Wish. Why change locations? Read more
Published on July 10 2003 by Dr. Mary Y. Mandeville
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Ever
I have read all of the Nina Reilly novels. I think this was the best one yet. It was as though the writers were telling three stories in one book. I loved it. Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2002 by D. Sills
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