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Devil's Corner

Devil's Corner

3.9 51
by Lisa Scottoline, Barbara Rosenblat (Read by)

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When prosecutor Vicki Allegretti arrives at a rowhouse to meet a confidential informant, she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time -- and is almost shot to death. She barely escapes with her life, but cannot save the two others gunned down before her disbelieving eyes. Stunned and heartbroken, Vicki tries to figure out how a routine meeting on a minor


When prosecutor Vicki Allegretti arrives at a rowhouse to meet a confidential informant, she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time -- and is almost shot to death. She barely escapes with her life, but cannot save the two others gunned down before her disbelieving eyes. Stunned and heartbroken, Vicki tries to figure out how a routine meeting on a minor case became a double homicide.

Vicki's suspicions take her to Devil's Corner, a city neighborhood teetering on the brink of ruin -- thick with broken souls, innocent youth, and a scourge that preys on both. But the deeper Vicki probes, the more she becomes convinced that the murders weren't random and the killers were more ruthless than she thought.

When another murder thrusts Vicki together with an unlikely ally, she buckles up for a wild ride down a dangerous street -- and into the cross-hairs of a conspiracy as powerful as it is relentless.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
When Lisa Scottoline told Ransom Notes she was working on a departure from her New York Times–bestselling series set at the all-female Philadelphia law firm of Rosato & Associates, she forecast that the stand-alone thriller about a woman U.S. attorney would be "grittier than what I've done in the Rosato & Associates books." Devil's Corner lives up to that promise with a powerful, visceral tale in which law and order and crime and punishment share the center of the action.

When newly fledged Assistant U.S. Attorney Vicki Allegretti set up her meeting with a confidential informant, she was just expecting to collect some information about illegally resold guns. But she immediately found herself in the middle of a burglary that ended in deadly gunfire, taking the lives of the informant and of the ATF agent working with Vicki on the case. As the sole survivor, Vicki is the only one who can ID the volatile teenage gunmen who fled the scene empty-handed. Soon she's teamed with the informant's daughter, pulling out all the stops on this investigation and following dangerous leads -- pursuing not only the shooters but, just as important, whoever was pulling their strings. Sue Stone
Publishers Weekly
Scottoline's 12th novel was inspired by a real-life jury trial for crack-cocaine trafficking of members of one of the most violent gangs in Philadelphia history (in her acknowledgments, the former trial lawyer admits she watches cases like these "for fun"). Such inspiration lends a tough, uncompromising realism to this stand-alone legal thriller. Scottoline (Killer Smile; Dead Ringer; etc.) sets the book in Philly, of course, and her lead this time is assistant U.S. Attorney Vicki Alegretti, whose petite frame belies her gutsy, unbridled determination on the job. While conducting a routine interview with a confidential informant on a straightforward matter, things go awry, and Vicki's partner-along with the informant-is shot. Resolved to find the killer, Vicki takes on the case (unbeknownst to her boss), and that's when the twists begin. In short chapters with cliffhanger endings, Scottoline spins a tale that finds Vicki joining forces with Reheema, a gorgeous black woman from the drug-ridden West Philly neighborhood of Devil's Corner. Reheema wants to find the person responsible for murdering her crack-addicted mother, and as she and Vicki play detective, they realize the murders may be connected and that they're getting increasingly closer to bringing down a sizable drug ring. Scottoline's ability to mix humor with serious subject matter, combined with her intense research of inner city drug trafficking and a side plot involving Vicki's love life, make for compelling entertainment. Agent, Molly Friedrich. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Scottoline gives the high-spirited, hard-pressed firm of Rosato & Associates a break to introduce an equally gutsy assistant U.S. attorney facing even less plausible challenges. A phone call from confidential informant Shayla Jackson has sent Vicki Allegretti and ATF case agent Bob Morton to a grim Philadelphia neighborhood. Hugely pregnant Shayla is already dead at the appointed address, presumably killed by one Jay-Boy, who shoots Morty three times on his way out while Vicki wrestles his buddy Teeg for his Glock. Vicki manages to dial 911 as Morty's dying, and that's the last moment for a long time that her recklessness isn't the lead story. Next morning, she trumps up an excuse to confront jailed Reheema Bristow, whom Shayla had fingered as the straw buyer of two guns, and nearly strangles the handcuffed prisoner in her rage. Threatened with a lawsuit for her behavior, she drives out to visit Reheema's mother Arissa and turns her attention away from her hostess long enough to let the addled crackhead lift her wallet and totter off into the night. When Arissa is stabbed to death, the cops naturally come looking for the lawyer whose ID was found on the corpse. For reasons best known to him, Vicki's boss doesn't fire her, so she's free to team up with Reheema (!) to prowl the streets in a series of rental cars looking for the killers and finding trouble. On the home front, Vicki's self-styled best friend, her colleague Dan Malloy, is dumped by his perfect wife and falls so quickly into Vicki's bed that you just know things aren't going to go smoothly there either. Even after the shooter is arrested, bad things keep right on happening. Not without Scottoline's customary grit and humor, butsprawling and shapeless, with a particularly unconvincing third act. Bring back Bennie Rosato. Author tour
Lansing State Journal
“Exciting, top-notch tale of death and deceit.”
Boston Globe
“An entertaining page-turner with plenty of twists and turns and a sturdy surprise ending.”
Time magazine
“A fast-paced thriller featuring a female lawyer with an ample supply of attitude....The writing is brisk and sassy.”
Sacramento Bee
“Fast pacing and [a] sense of play...And the author delivers a serving of humor, too.”
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“Well-plotted, briskly paced.”
“In her expertly crafted 12th novel, the former lawyer creates feisty new heroines.”
“Entertaining and exciting.”
Philadelphia Magazine
“[Scottoline’s] storytelling is as brisk and breezy as ever, and her voice remains a funny delight.”
New York Law Journal
“Scottoline...has a gift for vivid character portrayal and for fast-paced writing.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
“Thrilling, but also fun, peppered with Scottoline’s tart, cheeky wit.”
Pittsburg Tribune
“Vivid...brisk pacing.”
Chicago Tribune
Justice magazine
“Sharp and funny.”
Daily Press
“A well-plotted, briskly paced legal thriller.”
Time Magazine
"A fast-paced thriller featuring a female lawyer with an ample supply of attitude....The writing is brisk and sassy."
People Magazine
"In her expertly crafted 12th novel, the former lawyer creates feisty new heroines."

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Unabridged, 10 CDs, 11 hours
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 5.78(h) x 1.52(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Vicki Allegretti always wondered what it would feel like to look into the barrel of a loaded gun, and now she knew. The gun was a black Glock, nine millimeter, and it was aimed at her right eye. Vicki observed the scene out-of-body, as if it were happening to a girl with a better sense of humor. Wonder if black guns make you look thinner, she thought.

Holding her point-blank was an African American teenager with cornrows, who looked as terrified as she was. He looked about fourteen years old, showing just a shadow of a mustache, and his brown eyes were jittery with fear. He kept shifting his weight in his big Iversons, standing tall in baggy jeans and a red satin Sixers jacket. He'd frozen in place when he'd come downstairs and found Vicki standing there, his shocked expression suggesting that he hadn't shot many lawyers. At least not his share.

"You don't want to do this, pal," she said, only apparently calmly. The kid's long fingers trembled on the gun's cross-hatched grip, and his other hand cradled a bulge underneath his jacket, as if he were hiding something. She had evidently interrupted a burglary by a rookie. Unfortunately, the Glock was an all-star. "I'm an assistant U.S. attorney."

"Wha?" The teenager swallowed hard, his eyes flickering with confusion.

"I work for the Justice Department. Killing me is like killing a cop." Okay, it wasn't technically true, but it should have been. "If you shoot me, they'll try you as an adult. They'll go for the death penalty."

"Get your hands up!" The teenager's eyes flared, and he wet his lips with a large, dry tongue.

"Okay, sure. Relax." Vicki raised her hands slowly, fighting the instinct to run. He'd shoot her in the back if she did; the living room was so small, she'd never make it to the front door. Maybe she could talk her way out of it. "Listen, you don't want to upgrade a burglary charge to murder. The stuff that's under your jacket is yours now. Take it and run."

"Shut up!"

So Vicki did, holding her hands up, her thoughts racing ahead. None of this was supposed to be happening. She had come to the rowhouse tonight to meet a confidential informant in a minor straw purchase case. The meeting was to be so routine that Bob Morton, an ATF case agent, was finishing his cigarette outside by the car. Could she stall until Morty got here? And where was her CI now?

"Jay-Boy!" the kid yelled up the stairwell, panicky. "Jay!"

Vicki noted the nickname. She could identify every zit on the kid's face. She wasn't getting out of this alive. She couldn't wait for Morty. She had to do something.

"Jay! Where you at?" the teenager shouted, half-turning away, and Vicki seized her only chance. She grabbed the barrel of the Glock and twisted it upward. At the same instant, Morty walked though the screen door and the whole world exploded.

"Morty, watch out!" Vicky shouted. The Glock fired, jerking convulsively. The barrel seared her palms. The shot split her eardrums. The teenager wrenched the gun back, yanking her off her feet. Simultaneously, another shot rang out. Not from the Glock. Too close to be from Morty's gun. Vicki's throat caught and she looked past the teenager. A man in a goatee and a black coat was shooting at Morty from the stairs.

"No!" Vicki screamed, grappling for the Glock. She glimpsed Morty as he fell backwards, grimacing with pain. His arms flew open like a marionette's, throwing the gun from his hand.

"NO!" Vicki screamed louder, as the shooter on the stairs kept firing. A second gunshot, then a third and fourth burst into Morty's chest, exploding the blue ripstop of his down jacket, jerking his fallen body on impact.

Vicki's heart hiccupped with fear and she yanked harder on the gun. The teenager punched her in the stomach, and she doubled over, gasping for breath. She released the Glock and hit back. She connected with his Sixers jacket and held on for dear life.

"Let go!" the teenager shouted, punching Vicki again and again. She flailed and after a solid body blow, crumpled to the floor, the wind sucked out of her. As she fell, she heard the faraway scream of a police siren and the kid shouting scared, "Jay, we gotta go! Jay!"

Vicki lay doubled over on her side, her body paralyzed with pain. Tears blurred her vision. She couldn't collect her thoughts. She heard footsteps and panting, then a rifle chamber being ratcheted back. She opened wet eyes into the two bottomless black wells of a sawed-off shotgun. Hot smoke curled from the barrels, filling her nose with a burning smell. Aiming the weapon was the shooter with the goatee.

My God, no. Vicki rolled over in a last effort to save herself.

"Don't do it, Jay, she's a cop!" the teenager screamed. Then, "No! Get it! Hurry!" Suddenly they were scrambling to pick things up off the floor. Whatever they'd stolen must have fallen out of the Sixers coat.

"Leave it go, Teeg! We gotta go!" The shooter was already sprinting away, his hands full. The teenager bolted after him, jumping over Morty and out the front door, leaving the rowhouse suddenly quiet.

Morty. Vicki rolled back over and struggled to her feet, stumbling across the living room to him.

"Morty!" she called, anguished, when she reached his side. He was lying on his back, his arms still flung wide, his blue eyes fluttering. "Morty, can you hear me? Morty?"

He didn't answer, his gaze barely focused. His neat features had gone slack and a sheen of perspiration coated his forehead and wet his sandy hair. Fresh blood gurgled from his chest and drenched his jacket, soaking its bright blue to slick black, spattering its exposed white stuffing with red flecks.

No please God. Vicki choked back tears. She covered the wound with her palm to stanch the flow and reached into her raincoat pocket, grabbed her cell phone, flipped it open, and pressed speed dial for 911. When the dispatcher picked up, she said, "I'm at 483 Maron Street, off of Roosevelt Boulevard! I have an officer down! Officer shot!"

"Excuse me?" the dispatcher answered. "Miss, what did you say your name was?"

"Allegretti! Hurry, I have an ATF agent shot! Send an ambulance! Now!" Vicki tucked the slippery cell phone under an ear and pressed against Morty's wound with all her might. "What do I do? He's shot in the chest! I'm trying to stop the blood!"

"Keep it up and don't move him," the dispatcher answered. "Stay calm and I'll get you an ambulance."

"Thank you! Hurry!" Vicki pressed harder on the wound. Blood pulsed hot and wet between her fingers. Morty's lips were parting. He was trying to say something.

"Vick?" Morty's forehead creased. "That...you?"

"Yes, I'm here, It's me!" Vicki felt her heart lift. She kept her palm over the horrific wound. If anybody could survive this, Morty could. He was a fit forty-five year old, he worked out religiously, and he'd even run a marathon.

"What the hell...happened?" A watery red-pink bubble formed in the corner of Morty's mouth, and Vicki fought to maintain emotional control.

"Two kids were here when I came in, it was a burglary. The door was open, and I thought I heard somebody say come in -"

"How's...the CI?"

"I don't know. She may not be home."

"You're okay...right?"

"I'm fine. You're gonna be fine, too." The blood bubble popped, and Vicki watched in horror. If only she'd let him smoke in the car. If only she'd grabbed the gun sooner. The shooter hadn't killed her because he thought she was a cop, but Morty was the cop. On the cell phone, the emergency dispatcher was saying that an ambulance was ten minutes from the house. Vicki said, "The ambulance is on the way. Just hang in, please, hang in."

"Funny. You always said...cigarettes will...kill me." Morty managed an agonized smile.

"You're gonna be fine, Morty. You'll see, you'll be fine. You have to be fine."

"You're bossy for...a midget," Morty whispered, then his smile suddenly relaxed.

And he stopped breathing.

Vicki heard herself scream his name, then dropped the cell phone and tried to resuscitate him until police showed up at the door.

And things got even worse.

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

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of Birth:
July 1, 1955
Place of Birth:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1981

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Devil's Corner 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very good. I found it very hard to put down. I liked how the romance turned out in the end. Very good story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Already entrenched as one of the most popular authors of legal thrillers, Lisa Scottoline shows no signs of success lag. Her twelfth book, Devil's Corner, is once more headed by spunky, bright heroine, Vicki Allegretti, and peppered with trenchant dialogue. Vicki's the kind of gal who finds trouble wherever she looks, and determinedly faces it down. She packs a wallop and a gun, sometimes in her left coat pocket 'where it could shoot out an ovary.' Actress Barbara Rosenblat gives a strong vocal performance as Vicki allies herself with Reheema Bristow to break up a gang dealing in cocaine and death. Meeting an informant can be standard procedure for Vicki but when she shows up at the appointed time what she confronts is a loaded gun. By dint of determination and a lot of luck she escapes a bullet but two others aren't so fortunate. She's at a loss to understand why and how a routine meet turned into a massacre. Her investigation takes her to Philadelphia's sleazier neighborhood, one known as Devil's Corner, a haven for no one but dealers and thieves. It's easy to discover who deals; the big question is who's behind the dealers? A former trial lawyer and Edgar Award winner, Scottoline has delivered another rousing ride through places both low and high with the indefatigable Vicki exceeding the suspense limit at every turn. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
My first time reading Lisa Scottoline. Will continue to read her books. Fortunately, after reading her book I was reading a local newspaper and to my suprise there appeared her column 'The Philadlphia Inquire' have been reading her articles for sometime, and will continue to read and read more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great Read. Couldn't put it down. Another Scottoline Masterpiece.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Already started her new book.an awesome writer as a man growing up in South Philly her books take me down the streets I grew up around.
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2soreeyes More than 1 year ago
For as little as Vickie is she sure can get in & out of trouble. She doesn't care how big anyone is if you are in the wrong she will find a way to cut you down. And make you laugh all the way through her problems.
MaDonnaLA More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book from the beginning to the end. It kept my interest the entire way through.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This one is my favorite by scottoline. I have read all of her books this spring, this being the last and was delighted to find it has all the best features of her writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like Lisa's books. She writes about strong females, who are a little vulnerable, but don' t let that interfere with what they want to accomplish.
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Rae Chastain More than 1 year ago
Similar to Evonavich books which i loved too
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