Dead Ringer (Rosato & Associates Series #8)

Dead Ringer (Rosato & Associates Series #8)

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by Lisa Scottoline
     
 

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Lawyer Bennie Rosato is fighting the battle of her life — against her own twin. The action starts innocently enough, with a stolen wallet, but in no time events escalate, and Alice Connelly wreaks havoc that can be created only by a dead ringer.

Connelly tries to destroy Bennie's law firm, Rosato & Associates, and then strikes at her very heart —

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Overview

Lawyer Bennie Rosato is fighting the battle of her life — against her own twin. The action starts innocently enough, with a stolen wallet, but in no time events escalate, and Alice Connelly wreaks havoc that can be created only by a dead ringer.

Connelly tries to destroy Bennie's law firm, Rosato & Associates, and then strikes at her very heart — which just happens to be otherwise engaged by a handsome, hunky stranger with the perfect amount of chest hair.

But when a brutal murder occurs, Bennie realizes that the stakes have turned deadly. And the face of evil looks like her own.

Editorial Reviews

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. Mystery Guild and Literary Guild main selection; Doubleday Book Club, BOMC and QPB alternate; Costco's June Book Club selection; 9-city author tour. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
One's a lawyer, the other's an ex-convict, and, of course, they're twin sisters. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Philadelphia attorney Bennie Rosato faces bankruptcy, infighting, stalking, and identity theft, at least two of them courtesy of her evil twin. It’s been only a matter of time before unloved, abandoned Alice Connelly (Mistaken Identity, 1999), returned to wreak havoc on her more successful sibling. But now is a particularly bad time, since Bennie’s up to her briefs in trouble. The client whose victory she was counting on to pay her bills has declared bankruptcy; her associate Mary DiNunzio wants pro bono time to file a suit against the US government on behalf of a late family friend interned, along with 10,000 other Italian-Americans, during WWII; a huge class-action suit that’s dropped onto her plate despite Rosato & Associates’ lack of experience in the area promises huge rewards, but only if she can survive the challenges of Bill Linette, the shark determined to steal her role as lead attorney in the case; and as she’s discussing the case with her client, the cops arrest her for larceny and assault. When Bennie’s state of alert, in permanent crisis mode during the best of times, is bumped up to red by a murder that strikes unexpectedly close to home, she can’t help wondering whether Alice has turned up the volume still again. But there are plenty of other suspects, from the mystery man who popped up just in time to rescue Bennie’s dog from his own brush with death to a whole town full of Philadelphia lawyers. Less synthetic than the last outing for Rosato & Associates, but just as fast-moving: a salute to heroines who’ve sworn off swearing but are "tired of saying damn all the time. It just didn’t go far enough." Author tour. Agent: Molly Friedrich

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060514945
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/25/2004
Series:
Rosato & Associates Series, #8
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
169,746
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.08(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Dead Ringer

Chapter One

Bennie Rosato had waited for more than a hundred jury verdicts in her career, but the waiting never got easier. The courtroom was empty, the air still. Bennie could hear the clock ticking on the paneled wall, but it could have been her sense of drama. She was sitting next to her client, Ray Finalil, who was gnawing his cuticles. If they lost this trial, Ray's company would have to pay three million dollars in damages. Three million bucks buys a lot of cuticles.

Bennie set aside her own case of nerves to cheer him up. "Yo, Ray. How do you stop a lawyer from drowning?"

"How?"

"Take your foot off his head."

Ray didn't smile. His gaze remained fixed on the vacant jury box, with its black leather chairs swiveled in different directions. The jury had been charged on the law this morning and they'd been out deliberating all day. That meant Ray and Bennie were entering their sixth hour of small talk. To Bennie, that was as good as married.

"Okay, no more jokes," she said. "Tell me about your son's baseball game. I'll pretend I don't know about the home run or the catch at third base."

"Second base."

"See?"

Ray's chin dropped to his hand. His brown eyes were bloodshot from three weeks of sleepless nights and his cheeks hollow from the ten pounds he'd shed during the trial, even though he was completely innocent. Being a defendant was no-win; if you lost, you paid the plaintiff, and if you won, you paid your lawyer. This was known as the American Rule. Only Americans tolerate law without justice.

"Look, Ray, we don't have to stay here. I have my cell phone, and the deputy clerk has my number. How about we take a field trip? We can go see the Liberty Bell. It's only a block away."

"No."

"This land is your land, Ray. This land is my land."

"No."

"Come on, it'll do you good to go out and walk around." Bennie rose, stretched, and took a personal inventory. She thought she was good-looking for a lawyer, even though she stood six feet tall and her proportions were positively Amazonian. Her khaki suit was still pressed and her white Gap shirt fairly clean. Her long, disobedient blond hair had been piled into a twist with a tortoiseshell barrette, but no makeup maximized the blue of her eyes or minimized the crow's-feet at their corners. An old boyfriend had told her that her mouth was generous, but she suspected it was a sneaky way of saying she had a big mouth. At the moment, it was shaped into a sympathetic frown. "You don't wanna take a walk?"

"When do you think they'll come back?" Ray didn't have to explain who "they" were. The jury.

"End of today." Bennie sat back down. At least the stretch had shaken off some of her stress. She couldn't remember the last time she'd exercised. This trial had consumed every available minute for the past two months, but her law firm needed the dough. The slump in the economy had hit lawyers, too, and people had stopped suing each other. Could world peace be far behind?

"I can't take another day of this. You sure they'll come back today?"

"Positive. This is a simple fraud case, in federal court only through the miracle of diversity jurisdiction. And Thursday is a good day for juries to go out. They get it over with if they come back today, then they go home and make it a three-day weekend. They won't go to work on a Friday after jury duty."

"How do you know?"

"Trial wisdom. The elders pass it down in a secret ceremony. We call it the bar exam to fool gringos like you."

"But what are they doing in there for so long?" Ray rubbed his forehead with leftover fingernails. He looked older than his fifty-one years, and oddly, he'd become more nervous as the trial wore on, not less. Ray wasn't a lover or a fighter. He was an accountant.

"A day is nothing. We just had a fifteen-day trial with one hundred twenty-six exhibits and twenty-eight witnesses. You want them back sooner?" Bennie pointed to the empty jury box. "Keep watching those chairs. It works every time."

Suddenly, the paneled door next to the dais opened and the deputy clerk entered. He was tall and fit, and his polyester blazer made an officially swishy sound when he walked. When Bennie realized he was heading for her, she rose. "They back?" she asked, her heart beginning to thump, but the deputy clerk shook his head.

"They got a question. They sent a note. Court's in session in five minutes. Plaintiff still in the attorney's conference room?"

"Yes," Bennie answered, and as soon as the deputy clerk took off down the aisle, Ray jumped up and clutched her sleeve.

"What does he mean, a question? The jury has a question? What question?"

"Relax. Sit down." Bennie unpeeled Ray's fingers and eased him down into his chair. "The judge is coming out to read us the question. Then we -- "

"A question? How typical is that? I don't understand. What does he mean, a question?"

"It happens from time to time. The jury sends the judge a question about the evidence or the law. It's nothing to be -- "

"I mean, what do they have to know?" Ray raked his free hand through his thinning hair. At the beginning of this trial he had looked like a Chia Pet. Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration. "Who said they could ask questions? Why do they get to ask questions?"

"Because this is America. Now stay cool. Curtain's up." Bennie gestured behind him, where the courtroom had come abruptly to life ...

Dead Ringer. Copyright © by Lisa Scottoline. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Lisa Scottoline is a New York Times bestselling author and serves as president of the Mystery Writers of America. She has won the Edgar Award, as well as many other writing awards. She also writes a Sunday humor column for the Philadelphia Inquirer, titled "Chick Wit," with her daughter, Francesca Serritella. There are thirty million copies of Lisa's books in print, and she has been published in thirty-two countries. She lives in Pennsylvania with an array of disobedient but adorable pets.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of Birth:
July 1, 1955
Place of Birth:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Education:
B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1981
Website:
http://www.scottoline.com

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Dead Ringer 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
XXXOOOBookwormOOOXXX More than 1 year ago
Bennie is losing clients right and left to bankruptcy, and the clients she has aren't paying her. She's behind on the rent, and has laid off one staff person. No new clients seem to be on the horizon when she gets an unexpected call from a courtly Frenchman whose company has been hurt by an illegal boycott. But . . . the case will be a class action suit, and Bennie has never done one before. Soon, she's mixing it up with the multi-million dollar class action lawyers who expect her to pony up $30,000 to play in the contingent fee case. If that isn't enough, someone has started impersonating her and is using her credit cards to send unwanted goods to the office. Whenever Bennie thinks she has gotten her head above water, she has another setback. 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.  The book opens with a very compelling series of episodes that display the problems that any small legal practice faces during hard economic conditions. Scottoline has written another winner. I like all the Rosato & Associates books. Ms Scottoline always gets my interest. Although if you read the previous books you know who the dead ringer is. But that is only part of the plot. The rest of the story kept me guessing. Benny Rosato is a great character and I would recommend this book as well as the others in the series.
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quaintinns More than 1 year ago
I liked this book more so than Lisa’s other books. The humor and the one line remarks were funny throughout the book. When lawyer Bennie’s twin sister returns to Phili, she is in trouble as she is out to steal her life (the twin was brutal) and does so. Then one day a stranger shows u p and helps save her life.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
Bennie Rosato couldn't be better. Although her law office is struggling a bit financially, she just landed a new client that could end her money worries for years. She is making a respected name for herself in the Philadelphia courts. She has great friends and a great life. Then everything seems to go wrong at once. Her new account, which had the potential to bring in millions in fees, seems in trouble. Judges and lawyers who respected her are starting to avoid her. Her house is broken into and her dog's life endangered. Then her best client is murdered. Who could be behind all of these misfortunes? Could it be Alice, Bennie's twin sister who was given away at birth and who resents Bennie? She has caused trouble before and Bennie knows the scandalous behavior that has her peers turning away from her has to be Alice pretending to be her. Is it the most prominent lawyer in town, who is threatened by Bennie's professional success and who has a reputation for playing hardball? Or is it David, a gorgeous guy who turned up out of nowhere and worked his way into Bennie's life. Scottoline has written an engaging mystery. Readers not only get a puzzle to solve but a look into the internal workings of an independent business, and how lawsuits make their way through the courts from start to finish. This book is recommended for mystery lovers.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Dead Ringer too me was just ok and I love this author. Vendetta Defense and Courting Trouble were far better reads. In this book she starts off with too many subplots going at once and strangely there is just too much humor in places not needed, followed by lengthy lectures about class-action lawsuites. The characters are her saving grace and that is what keeps this book floating along. I know she will continue to write other fantastic books to come. If you've never read a book by Ms. Scottoline, read any of her other books first.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Dead Ringer' is a dead ringer for a movie. The plots and subplots are woven with the touch of a master the author has become. Not to be missed. Or read only once.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Accomplished actress Kate Burton has a one of a kind stage voice. (Something in the genes, perhaps?) It doesn't really matter how she acquired her voice; it is simply there for all to enjoy. She can be soothing, menacing, comedic, whatever the role demands. Ms. Burton provides a superb reading of Lisa Scottoline's adventure starring Bennie Rosato, head of an all women Philadelphia law firm. As our story opens said firm is in financial straits. Things couldn't get much worse - the group is about to be tossed out of their offices onto the sidewalk and Bennie feels personally responsible for her partners, Mary DiNunzio and Judy Carrier. Being cash poor is one thing but to have someone trolling about Philadelphia impersonating you and raising all kinds of havoc is quite something else. Bennie knows there's only one person who could pull that off - her mean spirited twin sister, Alice. It's any port in a storm so when Bennie has an opportunity to represent a class-action suit that could be a real money maker she doesn't even think about it - she charges ahead. However, she hadn't counted on murder. Suddenly, the stakes are much higher than she'd ever dreamed. Listen, and be both entertained and surprised. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a very good book. I couldn't put it down. A must read!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Liked the book, fast paced, likeable/loveable characters. Would want Bennie as a friend. This was read as a book club selection, and honestly, there isn't much to discuss! Ending a little hokey. But I would read another book in the series if I was looking for something light but enjoyable to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
OF HER EIGHT OR TEN I'VE READ, I HAVE TO RATE THIS NEAR THE BOTTOM. I HAVE 'RUNNING FROM THE LAW' TO READ NEXT. I'M TRUSTING IT WILL BE A LOT BETTER
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, as I do all her other works. She knows Philadelphia, acts Philadelphia, IS Philadelphia...with a heart of gold.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an enjoyable read. The story runs in a series and this book will make more sense and be more fun if you read them in sequence. The only negative comment would be the end fell a little flat, but the rest of the story was so good it's worth the flat ending. Have fun!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A marvelous novel. Really enjoyed reading this great creation. A must read for all thriller-loving folks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
DEAD RINGER is another great legal thriller, one of those can't put it down stay up late to finish books. At the beginning I thought, 'oh no, not another thing can happen to Bennie'. I really enjoyed the build up of the relationship between Bennie & 'the kids'. And , ok, I loved the SEAL. At the end I thought ,'Rosato, you are soft as a grape ' --in a good way, as in-you are a better woman than I.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Bennie Rosato built the all-female law firm of Rosato & Associates from scratch and thinks of it as her second child. It is tearing her apart that she might lose it because so many of her clients went bankrupt and no new clients are knocking at the door. When Robert St. Amien, a French lens manufacturer with an office in Philadelphia, wants to hire her in a class action suit she thinks that will be the saving of her law firm.

While she and the associates are working on the case, trying to be the lead counsel since her client had the most to lose, Bennie runs into some potential problems. Her sociopathic identical twin sister is in town, ruining her reputation and getting her arrested for robbing a jewelry store. While she is trying to find Alice, somebody kills Robert and Bennie¿s focus shifts into finding the perpetrator who killed her client.

DEAD RINGER is a little different (but just as good) from other Lisa Scottoline novels because it focuses on Bennie and is told from her point of view. There are a lot of thrills and chills in this legal thriller but there are more insightful explosions than usual into how Bennie thinks and feels. This is a fine addition to the Rosato and Associates novels, as it adds dimension and depth to one of the better legal thriller series on the market today.

Harriet Klausner

RapJR More than 1 year ago
Very exciting, needed to keep reading. Bennie and other lawyers were very interesting characters as usual. The entire series is excellent.