Book Review - Jackie K Cooper
CORRUPTED by Lisa Scottoline
Lisa Scottoline demonstrates she is a writer with a cool head and a warm heart in her latest novel CORRUPTED. This is because her lead character, attorney Bennie Rosato, has a cool head and a warm heart. The book is about two of Rosato's most important cases in her career, and they both involve Jason Leftavik. The first case involves a twelve year old Jason and the second occurs when he is twenty-five.
When Jason is twelve he is involved in a shoving match at school caused by a boy named Richie Grusini bullying him. The police are called and Jason is sentenced to nine months in juvenile detention for the offense. Jason's father Matthew reaches out to Bennie and asks her to take Jason's case and she reluctantly agrees.
Thirteen years later Jason is arrested for Richie Grusini's death. He calls Bennie for help and she rushes to his side. She carries a lot of grief over the outcome of her first involvement with Jason. She swears she will not fail him this second time.
Bennie Rosato has been a character in previous Scottoline books, but never has Rosato been as front and center as she is in this story. The book shows sides of her that have only been hinted at in the past. Usually the focus is on her partner Mary DiNunzio with Rosato being a supporting character.
Scottoline knows how to write a story that involves her readers. She gives just enough information in the present storyline before she switches back to the earlier time. Once she returns you to the present you are turning the pages at a fevered pace.
There is nothing as riveting as a skilled writer creating tense courtroom scenes and Scottoline does that in CORRUPTED. Some may think the "Perry Mason" conclusion is too artificial but for me it ended the story on just the right note. If it makes a book more enjoyable and entertaining, I am all for a little stretch of the reality boundaries. It also helps that the emotional content of the story is at a high level. Bennie is a smart trial lawyer but in this casee she lets her heart lead.
As a rule I enjoy all of Scottoline's novels, some more than others. This story of a child involved in the court system, and the heartbreak of a love unfulfilled make CORRUPTED the best she has written in quite a while.
CORRUPTED is published by St. Martin's Press. It contains 432 pages and sells for $27.99.
Jackie K Cooper