Daddy's Girl
  • Daddy's Girl
  • Daddy's Girl

Daddy's Girl

4.1 78
by Lisa Scottoline

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Natalie Greco loves being a law professor, even though she can't keep her students from cruising during class. She loves her family, too, but as a bookworm, doesn't quite fit in. Then, when a colleague talks Nat into teaching a class at a local prison, her comfortably imperfect world turns upside down.

A violent prison riot breaks out, and in the chaos,

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Natalie Greco loves being a law professor, even though she can't keep her students from cruising during class. She loves her family, too, but as a bookworm, doesn't quite fit in. Then, when a colleague talks Nat into teaching a class at a local prison, her comfortably imperfect world turns upside down.

A violent prison riot breaks out, and in the chaos, Nat rushes to help a grievously injured guard. Before he dies, he asks her to deliver a cryptic message: "Tell my wife it's under the floor."

The dying declaration plunges Nat into a nightmare. Suddenly, the girl who has always followed the letter of the law finds herself suspected of a brutal murder. Forced into hiding to stay alive, she sets out to save herself by deciphering the puzzle behind the dead guard's last words . . . and learns the secret behind the greatest puzzle of all—herself.

Editorial Reviews

Maureen Corrigan
… [anyone] who needs a good laugh, should scuttle over to the nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of Scottoline's latest, Daddy's Girl.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
The undistinguished academic career of Natalie "Nat" Greco, a mousy and naOve law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, takes an unexpected turn at the start of this less than compelling legal thriller from bestseller Scottoline (Dirty Blonde). When an attractive male colleague, Angus Holt, convinces Nat to accompany him on a teaching assignment at a nearby prison, a sudden riot puts them both in peril. Nat finds herself desperately attempting to save the life of a guard, apparently stabbed by an inmate during the fracas. The dying man asks her to pass on his last words to his wife, but possessing knowledge of this cryptic message proves dangerous. Nat finds herself accused of murder and must evade the law while also tracking down the bad guys. Her methods more often resemble that of Nancy Drew than an Ivy League professor, and the plot suffers by comparison with Peter Abrahams's gritty End of Story (2006), which makes better use of a similar theme. 11-city author tour. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

Edgar Award-winning author Scottoline's new legal thriller features Natalie (Nat) Greco, a University of Pennsylvania law professor with a knack for history and storytelling and a firm belief in justice. It is this commitment that compels Nat to accompany a colleague to a prison-held legal aid clinic. When a riot breaks out, Nat becomes the witness to a dying man's last words, which causes her life to spiral rapidly out of control. In a quick succession of events, Nat stands accused of murder and finds herself living as a fugitive. Unfortunately, Daddy's Girl is not as compelling as previous Scottoline novels, but the writing remains fast paced and full of appropriately placed humor. And, fortunately, reader Barbara Rosenblat again gives an amazing performance of the author's work, conveying a distinct personality and voice for each character. The audio production flows well and is of good quality. Recommended, but not an essential purchase; particularly suited for public libraries with general fiction and/or mystery collections and for those that include previous Scottoline titles.
—Nicole A. Cooke

Kirkus Reviews
Still another untested female member of the Philadelphia bar undergoes baptism by fire when a routine prison visit erupts in violent death. Unsure of her skills and status as an assistant professor at Penn Law, Natalie Greco reluctantly accepts her scruffy, charismatic colleague Angus Holt's invitation to join him at the legal clinic he runs at Chester County Correctional Facility. Their visit to the minimum-security prison goes fine until a riot breaks out. Amid the call to lockdown, three inmates are killed. So is correctional officer Ron Saunders, who dies as Nat is struggling to administer CPR. She's too late to save his life, but not too late to hear the last words he's desperate to pass on to his wife Barbara: "It's . . . under the floor." Contemplating her boyfriend Hank Ballisteri's likely reaction to the cuts and bruises she got when she was attacked during the melee, Nat is glum. But the worst is still ahead. First, Barbara Saunders disclaims any knowledge of what might be under the floor; then her house is burgled; finally, minutes after Nat leaves her, she's shot and left for dead, with another murder right around the corner, just waiting to be pinned on Nat. Seasoned fans will eagerly anticipate the obligatory developments that follow. Nat and her lawyer talk the police into letting her go; new evidence makes her look guiltier than ever; and, in the tale's most absorbing pages, she takes it seriously on the lam, showing all the resourcefulness of Scottoline's other Philadelphia lawyers (Dirty Blonde, 2006, etc.) in disguising herself, boosting a new set of wheels and evading pursuit en route to a clever and well-prepared surprise. On the down side, Nat's relation to hermale-dominated construction family, despite the emphasis promised by the title, is less compelling than usual, and the lead criminal is easily spotted by readers less starry-eyed than Nat.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

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Chapter One

Nat Greco felt like an A cup in a double-D bra. She couldn't understand why her tiny class was held in such a huge lecture hall, unless it was a cruel joke of the registrar's. The sun burned through the windows like a failure spotlight, illuminating two hundred empty seats. This class filled only nine of them, and last week the flu and job interviews had left Nat with one very uncomfortable male student. The History of Justice wasn't only a bad course. It was a bad date.

"Justice and the law," she pressed on, "are themes that run through William Shakespeare's plays, because they were central to his life. When he was growing up, his father, John, held a number of legal positions, serving as a chamberlain, bailiff, and chief alderman."

As she spoke, the law students typed on their black laptops, but she suspected they were checking their email, instant-messaging their friends, or cruising the Internet. The classrooms at Penn Law were wireless, but not all technology was progress. Teachers didn't stand a chance against

"When the playwright turned thirteen, his father fell on hard times. He sold his wife's property and began lending money. He was hauled into court twice for being usurious, or charging too much interest. Shakespeare poured his empathy for moneylenders into Shylock, in The Merchant of Venice. It's one of his most complex characters, and the play gives us a historical perspective on justice."

Nat stepped away from the lectern to draw the students' attention, but no luck. They were all in their third year, and 3Ls had one foot out the door. Still, as much as she loved teaching, she was beginning to think she wasn'tvery good at it. Could she really suck at her passion? Women's magazines never admitted this as a possibility.

"Let's turn to the scene in which Antonio asks Shylock to lend him money," she continued. "They agree that if Antonio can't pay it back, the penalty is a pound of his flesh. By the way, future lawyers, is that a valid contract under modern law?"

Only one student raised her hand, and, as usual, it was Melanie Anderson, whose suburban coif and high-waisted Mom jeans stood out in this clutch of scruffy twentysomethings. Anderson was a forty-year-old who had decided to become a lawyer after a career as a pediatric oncology nurse. She loved this class, but only because it was better than watching babies die.

"Yes, Ms. Anderson? Contract or no?" Nat smiled at her in gratitude. All teachers needed a pet, even lousy teachers. Especially lousy teachers.

"No, it's not a contract."

Good girl . . . er, woman. "Why not? There's offer and acceptance, and the money supports the bargain."

"The contract would be against public policy." Anderson spoke with quiet authority, and her French-manicured fingertips rested on an open copy of the play, its sentences striped like a highlighter rainbow. "Antonio essentially consents to being murdered, but murder is a crime. Contracts that are illegal are not enforceable."

Right. "Anybody agree or disagree with Ms. Anderson?"

Nobody stopped typing emoticons to answer, and Nat began second-guessing herself, wondering if the assignment had been too literary for these students. Their undergraduate majors were finance, accounting, and political science. Evidently, humans had lost interest in the humanities.

"Let's ask some different questions." She switched tacks. "Isn't the hate that drives Shylock the result of the discrimination he's suffered? Do you see the difference between law and justice in the play? Doesn't the law lead to injustice, first in permitting enforcement of the contract, then in bringing Shylock to his knees? Can there be true justice in a world without equality?" She paused for an answer that didn't come. "Okay, everyone, stop typing right now and look at me."

The students lifted their heads, their vision coming slowly into focus as their brains left cyberspace and reentered Earth's atmosphere. Their fingers remained poised over their keyboards like spiders about to pounce.

"Okay, I'll call on ¬people." Nat turned to Wendy Chu in the front row, who'd earned a Harvard degree with honors in Working Too Hard. Chu had a lovely face and glossy hair that covered her shoulders. "Ms. Chu, what do you think? Is Shylock a victim, a victimizer, or both?"

"I'm sorry, Professor Greco. I didn't read the play."

"You didn't?" Nat asked, stung. "But you always do the reading."

"I was working all night on law review." Chu swallowed visibly. "I had to cite-check an article by Professor Monterosso, and it went to press this morning."

Rats. "Well, you know the rules. If you don't do the reading, I have to take you down half a grade." Nat hated being a hardass, but she'd been too easy her first year of teaching, and it hadn't worked. She'd been too strict her second year, and that hadn't worked either. She couldn't get it just right. She was like Goldilocks and all the beds were futons.

"Sorry," Chu whispered. Nat skipped Melanie Anderson for the student sitting next to her, class hottie Josh Carling. Carling was a tall twenty-six-year-old out of UCLA, with unusual green eyes, a killer smile, and a brownish soul patch on his square chin. A Hollywood kid, he'd worked as an A.D. on the set of a TV sitcom and he always wore an Ashton Kutcher knit cap, though it never snowed indoors.

"Mr. Carling, did you do the reading?" Nat knew Josh's answer because he looked down sheepishly.

"I didn't have time. I had a massive finance exam to study for. Sorry, for reals."

Damn. "Then you're a half-grade down, too," she said, though her heart went out to him. Carling was in the joint-degree program, so he'd graduate with diplomas from the law school and the business school, which guaranteed him a lucrative job in entertainment law and a spastic colon.

Nat eyed the second row. "Mr. Bischoff? How about you?"

Daddy's Girl LP. Copyright © by Lisa Scottoline. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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