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This captivating debut by criminal defense attorney Marsella kicks off a series with a complex, intriguing mystery. After a drunken night at a popular mob hangout, four friends employed at the Rhode Island attorney general's office witness a brutal murder. Laurie, Shannon, Beth and narrator Marianna are soon thrown into the investigation, which leads directly to the posh private college attended by the victim. Buried behind the ivy walls are secrets and more bodies. The women tell desperate lies to their bosses, trying to hide their whereabouts on the night of the killing, as they dig deeper into the crime. At times the plot gets bogged down by Marianna's wordy inner monologues, and the amateur detectives seem scarcely more mature than the college students they're investigating, but the skillful twists and turns of the mystery will keep readers engaged. Additional elements of romance and humor keep the novel balanced and realistic and open the door for sequels. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.