Final Appeal

Final Appeal

3.7 150
by Lisa Scottoline

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Grace Rossi is starting over after a divorce, and a part-time job with a federal appeals court sounds perfect. But she doesn't count on being assigned to an explosive death penalty appeal. Nor does she expect ardor in the court in the form of an affair with the chief judge. Then Grace finds herself investigating a murder, unearthing a secret bank account and


Grace Rossi is starting over after a divorce, and a part-time job with a federal appeals court sounds perfect. But she doesn't count on being assigned to an explosive death penalty appeal. Nor does she expect ardor in the court in the form of an affair with the chief judge. Then Grace finds herself investigating a murder, unearthing a secret bank account and following a trail of bribery and judicial corruption that's stumped even the FBI. In no time at all, Grace under fire takes on a whole new meaning.

Editorial Reviews

Susan Isaacs
What fun! Lisa Scottoline brings something new to the lawyer-mystery—a brilliant sense of humor.
Entertainment Weekly
Good, speedy fun.
Drood Review of Mystery
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Philadelphia lawyer Grace Rossi is a single mother trying to make ends meet by working part-time for the handsome Judge Armen Gregorian in the federal appeals court. Although he is by all accounts happily married, many women carry a torch for him. Grace is no exception, so when Gregorian picks her out of a group of clerks to assist him in researching the infamous Hightower case, she considers herself lucky-maybe even blessed, when their first night on the job turns romantic. But her newfound happiness is shattered when the morning news announces that Gregorian has been found shot, apparently a suicide. Grace, knowing that it has to be murder, immediately takes up the search to find out who is responsible for his death. She encounters help along the away, in the form of a resourceful homeless man who turns out to be an FBI agent in disguise, investigating possible fraud within the court. Scottoline, an Edgar nominee for her first book, Everywhere That Mary Went, has again pulled together an intriguing cast of characters and a smart mystery to make an exciting, action-packed read. (Nov.)

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HarperCollins Publishers
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6.74(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.93(d)

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Chapter One

At times like this I realize I'm too old to be starting over, working with law clerks. I own pantyhose with more mileage than these kids, and better judgment. For example, two of the clerks, Ben Safer and Artie Weiss, are bickering as we speak; never mind that they're making a scene in an otherwise quiet appellate courtroom, in front of the most expensive members of the Philadelphia bar.

"No arguing in the courtroom," I tell them, in the same tone I use on my six-year-old. Not that it works with her either.

"He started it, Grace," Ben says in a firm stage whisper, standing before the bank of leather chairs against the wall. "He told me he'd save me a seat and he didn't. Now there's no seats left."

“Will you move, geek? You're blocking my sun," Artie says, not bothering to look up from the sports page. He rarely overexerts himself; he's sauntered through life to date, relying on his golden-boy good looks, native intelligence, and uncanny jump shot. He throws one strong leg over the other and turns the page, confident he'll win this argument even if it runs into overtime. Artie, in short, is a winner.

But so is Ben in his own way; he was number two at Chicago Law School, meat grinder of the Midwest. "You told me you'd save me a seat, Weiss," he says, "so you owe me one. Yours. Get up."

"Eat me," Artie says, loud enough to distract the lawyers conferring at the counsel table like a bouquet of bald spots. They'd give him a dirty look if he were anyone else, but because he works for the chief judge they flash capped smiles; you never know which clerk's got your case on his desk.

"Get up. Now,Weiss."

"Separate, you two," I say. "Ben, go sit in the back. Argument's going to start any minute."

"Out of the question. I won't sit in public seating. He said he'd save me a seat, he owes me a seat."

"It's not a contract, Ben," I advise him. For free.

"I understand that. But he should be the one who moves, not me." He straightens the knot on his tie, already at tourniquet tension; between the squeeze on his neck and the one on his sphincter, the kid's twisted shut at both ends like a skinny piece of saltwater taffy. "I have a case being argued."

"So do 1, jizzbag," Artie says, flipping the page.

I like Artie, but the problem with the Artie Weisses of the world is they have no limits. "Artie, did you tell him you'd save him a seat?"

"Why would I do that> Then I'd have to sit next to him." He gives Ben the finger behind the tent of newspaper.

I draw the line. "Artie, put your finger away."

"Ooooh, spank me, Grace. Spank me hard. Pull my wittle pants down and throw me over your gorgeous knees."

"You couldn't handle it, big guy."

"Try me." He leans over with a broad grin.

441 mean it, Artie. You're on notice." He doesn't know I haven't had sex since my marriage ended three years ago. Nobody's in the market for a single mother, even a decent-looking one with improved brown hair,, authentic blue eyes, and a body that's staying the course, at least as we speak.

"Come on, sugar," Artie says, nuzzling my shoulder. "live the dream."

"Cut it out."

"You read the book, now see the movie."

I turn toward Ben to avoid laughing; it's not good to laugh when you're setting limits. "Ben , you know he's not going to move. The judges will be out any minute. Go find a seat in the back."

Ben scans the back row where the courthouse groupies sit; it's a lineup that includes retired men, the truly lunatic, even the homeless. Ben, looking them over, makes no effort to hide his disdain; you'd think he'd been asked to skinnydip in the Ganges. He turns to me, vaguely desperate. "Let me have your seat, Grace. I'll take notes for you."

"No.""But my notes are like transcripts. I used to

sell them at school."

"I can take my own notes, thank you." Ten years as a trial lawyer, I can handle taking notes-, taking notes is mostly what I do now as the assistant to the chief judge. I take notes while real lawyers argue, then I go to the library and draft an opinion that real lawyers cite in their next argument. But I'm not complaining. I took this job because it was part-time and I'm not as good a juggler as Joan Lunden, Paula Zahn, and other circus performers.

"How about you, Sarah?" Ben asks the third law clerk, Sarah Whittemore, sitting on my other side. "You don't have a case this morning. You can sit in the back."

Fat chance. Sarah smooths a strand of cool blond hair away from her face, revealing a nose so diminutive it's a wonder she gets any oxygen at all. "Sorry, I need this seat," she says.

I could have told him that. Sarah wants to represent the downtrodden, not mingle with them.

A paneled door opens near the dais and the

court crier, a compact man with a competent air, begins a last-minute check on the microphones at the dais and podium. Ben glances at the back row with dismay. "I can't sit back there with those people. One of them has a plastic hat on, for God's sake."

Artie looks over the top of his paper. "A plastic hat? Where?"

"There." Ben jerks his thumb toward a bearded man sporting a crinkled cellophane rain bonnet and a black raincoat buttoned to the neck.

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

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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Final Appeal (Rosato and Associates Series #2) 3.7 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 150 reviews.
Jennifer Moore More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable reading. I continue to read this authors work and would always recommend this to anyone who enjoys John Grishom, David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, John Lecroart...
Lala21559 More than 1 year ago
I have read a lot of her books, and to me, this one falls in the middle somewhere...not great, but not awful, either. The character development, except for the main character s not that well done, and you can't help wonder what the heck it was all about at the end. Maybe I'm being too picky, but it just left an empty taste in my mouth.
HmmmmPB More than 1 year ago
What on earth was she thinking? I'm so glad I bought this nook book for less than $4 or I'd really be miffed. I couldn't even finish it. Was this a creative writing assignment in dialogue? it's all dialogue. Well, maybe it isn't but there was enough of all dialogue in the first chapter to stop me from reading further. Who has time to spend on something that's not appealing. Read it if you must. Since it has such a "high stared" review, someone enjoyed it. So give it a try. It could be just for people other than me. The first book, "Every where that Mary went" was very good. i'll recommend it without hesitation. Enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although entertaining, this book is definitely not as good as others by the author. I was disappointed by 'who done it'. 'Mistaken Identity' and 'Everywhere That Mary Went' are the best in my opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first Scottoline book, and I don't believe I'll read another. Utterly forgettable characters, and the reading level appeared to be at the 4th or 5th grade.
TLJo More than 1 year ago
A good read. Not her best but not bad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm in the middle of it now and I must say, I've read several books by Lisa Scottoline and I am surprised and disappointed with the language although the story is good, I never have seen the point in using the f... word and it's in this book entirely too much. I want to see how it ends but don't know if I can get past that word much more.
mommy491 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book with lots of drama and action. It almost ranks up there with the rest of her material.
BritVic More than 1 year ago
From page one - which draws the reader in and makes one feel part of the plot - to the last page, it is hard to put Lisa's books down. Needless to say, as soon as this book is finished the reader is SO ready for the next one. Brilliant writer - want to see her books as movies!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all her books, I always look forward to a new one coming out.
George60 More than 1 year ago
This is a great read if you want something thats not to long. It holds you're attention but it's over way to soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took a while to get into the story, but once I did, I enjoyed it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A one off book, but still about lawyers in Philadelphia. This time a single mother, working part time after a divorce. She has issues with her mother, is in love with her boss and has to mother 3 young clerks. Trouble starts when she works late with her boss - Chief of the third district court of appeals, on a death penalty case. Variety of characters and interwoven stories. Some could have used a little more development, but overall enjoyable.
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