Killer Smile (Rosato & Associates Series #9)

Killer Smile (Rosato & Associates Series #9)

4.3 69
by Lisa Scottoline

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Lawyer Mary DiNunzio's new case is a mystery—the strange suicide of an Italian fisherman interned during a dark, unspoken chapter in American history. Armed only with the puzzle pieces of a lock of hair, an old photograph, and a paper covered with indecipherable doodles, Mary digs deep into the case and suspects betrayal—and murder.

Meantime, Mary's

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Lawyer Mary DiNunzio's new case is a mystery—the strange suicide of an Italian fisherman interned during a dark, unspoken chapter in American history. Armed only with the puzzle pieces of a lock of hair, an old photograph, and a paper covered with indecipherable doodles, Mary digs deep into the case and suspects betrayal—and murder.

Meantime, Mary's friends worry that her investigation is becoming an obsession, so they set her up on a series of truly disastrous blind dates. She escapes romance only to risk life and limb to hunt down a ruthless killer. But someone in the shadows—powerful, cold-blooded, and very deadly—will stop at nothing to keep Mary from the truth.

Editorial Reviews

“An exciting whodunit with an ending that’s both surprising and satisfying.”
Orlando Sentinel
“Scottoline lovingly conveys the warmth, character and stoicism of the South Philly neighborhood.”
Chicago Tribune
“Smart pacing and rich detail will keep any mystery lover enthralled.”
Washington Post
“Superb legal thriller....This winning series always has snappy plots and interesting legal lore.”
People Magazine
"An exciting whodunit with an ending that’s both surprising and satisfying."
New York Daily News
“The characters are winning and the local color is an authentic treat.”
Daily Press
“Smart pacing and rich detail will keep any mystery lover enthralled.”
Rocky Mountain News
“The plot speeds along...a fun, easy read.”
New York Law Journal
“Succeeds on every front....a pleasure, from start to finish.”
Columbus Dispatch
“A fast-paced thriller....The tale builds to a strong conclusion with a few nicely surprising twists along the way.”
San Antonio Express-News
“Scottoline delivers a good story and characters to care about.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Killer Smile would make killer reading on a plane or at the beach.”
“Scottoline has long established herself for writing stylish and yet suspenseful legal dramas. . . . Superb reading.”
News Journal (Wilmington)
“[Scottoline’s] books are readable, fast-moving and punctuated with wit and sharp one-liners.”
News Journal (Wilmington
“[Scottoline’s] books are readable, fast-moving and punctuated with wit and sharp one-liners.”
News Journal (Wilmington))
"[Scottoline’s] books are readable, fast-moving and punctuated with wit and sharp one-liners."
Richard Lipez
This winning series always has snappy plots and interesting legal lore. But it's the affectionate and witty take on DiNunzio's bumpy love life -- here she's been widowed for two years and just begun dating -- that's consistently appealing, as are her South Philly extended family and neighborhood life.
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Scottoline's previous thrillers (Dead Ringer; Courting Trouble; etc.) have featured the women of the all-female Philadelphia law firm Rosato and Associates, and have concerned the usual elements of murder, stalking, bribery and corruption. This novel by the former trial lawyer and Edgar Award winner, while embracing the requisite ingredients, is especially engaging because of its personal angle: growing out of Scottoline's discovery of her own grandparents' alien registration cards, the book involves the case of an Italian-American who was interned during WWII. Amadeo Brandolini emigrated from Italy to Philadelphia, where he started a family and worked as a fisherman. When the war broke out, the FBI arrested and imprisoned him (along with 10,000 other Italian-Americans). He lost everything and wound up committing suicide in the camp. Rosato and Associates' young star, Mary DiNunzio, steps up to represent Brandolini's estate as it sues for reparations. Mary "grew up in South Philly, where she'd learned to pop her gum, wear high heels, and work overtime" and silently prays to saints when she can't find things. This case, a pro bono one, means a lot to her; the local small business owners and family friends she grew up with want retribution for Brandolini as much as she does. Mary puts all of her energy into the job, and when clues suggest Brandolini's death may have been a homicide, she becomes even more enthralled. As Mary learns more, the enemy camp (another Italian-American family, the Saracones) turns its murderous eye on her. Scottoline skillfully weaves a complicated, gripping and fast-paced tale, at turns comical, nerve-wracking and enlightening. Agent, Molly Friedrich. (On sale June 1) Forecast: Scottoline's last book, Dead Ringer, debuted at #5 on the New York Times bestseller list-her personal best. Killer Smile is poised for similar success, aided by a 13-city author tour and national radio and print ads. Look for an Innovators profile of Scottoline in the April 26 issue of PW. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
After Dead Ringer, Mary DiNunzio and the all-women law firm of Rosato & Associates are back in another installment of the popular series. While it's chock-full of Scottoline's trademark murder, mayhem, and merriment, this time she has a more important and personal story to tell-that of the little-known internment camps for Italian Americans during World War II. Scottoline discovered her own grandparents' alien registration cards, giving her the impetus and passion to bring this story to light. DiNunzio has taken on a pro bono case for the family of Amadeo Brandolini, an Italian immigrant fisherman who settled in Philadelphia but died under mysterious circumstances in one such camp in Montana; now, his family is seeking retribution. DiNunzio takes his case to heart, but her fervent research uncovers more subterfuge than she was supposed to find. Her crazy blind dates offer some comic relief, but the threats, violence, and bodies continue to pile up, and the truth remains elusive throughout this complex and riveting tale. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/04.]-Stacy Alesi, Southwest Cty. Regional Lib., Boca Raton, FL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Mary DiNunzio, Bennie Rosato's law associate, pursues her claim on behalf of the late interned family friend Amadeo Brandolini (Dead Ringer, 2004) to a rousing courtroom finale. The problem with pressing a case that's 60 years old-Amadeo Brandolini died a suicide in 1942 in the Montana camp where he was interned with hundreds of other Italian-Americans-is that so many leads are dead, along with so many potential deponents. Mary can't interview Amadeo's wife or his son Tony, her nominal client, or Missoula camp guard Aaron Nyquist, because they've all passed on. But when Frank Cavuto, the attorney for Tony's estate, gets shot in an apparent robbery shortly after telling her she's off the case, his death sounds like one too many. And when the man she's become convinced actually murdered Amadeo all those years ago dies hours after she confronts him and the evidence against him is stolen from her office and her pocketbook, the case seems as hopeless as her sex life. After all, the chances of a judge taking her word for an undocumented connection between the illiterate fisherman Amadeo and the powerful firm that's continued to benefit from his death are about as great as the chances that one of the million blind dates her family and friends force on the young widow will suddenly blossom into true love. But Mary soldiers on, her sense of humor bolstered by some timely assistance from her boss and her best bud Judy Carrier, till a bolt from the blue leaves a most unlikely grin on her face. No matter who carries the ball at Rosato & Associates, Scottoline keeps it fast, fleet, and funny. Her Philadelphia is both dangerous and aglow with the promise of justice and hot new men who'll steal yourheart-if they don't kill you first. Author tour. Agent: Molly Friedrich/Aaron Priest Agency

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Rosato & Associates Series, #9
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.12(d)

Read an Excerpt

Killer Smile

By Scottoline, Lisa

HarperCollins Publishers

ISBN: 0060514957

Chapter One

"Rosato & Associates," Mary DiNunzio said into the receiver, then kicked herself for answering the phone. The caller was Premenstrual Tom, a man who wanted to sue the Philadelphia Police Department, the United States Congress, and a local cantaloupe. He'd been calling the office at all hours, and Mary felt sorry for him. He was obviously off his meds and had reached one of the few lawyers in the city who wouldn't sue fruit.

"This is Mr. Thomas Cott!" he shouted. "Who's this?"

"I'm Mary DiNunzio. We spoke yesterday -- "

"Get me Ms. Benedetta Rosato!"

"Ms. Rosato is gone for the day, sir." Mary checked her watch. 10:16 P.M. Everyone had gone home hours ago, and until now, the offices had been blessedly quiet. "The office is closed."

"Then what are you doing there, Ms. Mary DiNunzio?"

Good question, Mr. Thomas Cott. Mary was working late again, reading until her brown eyes turned red and her contacts dried to the crispness of breakfast cereal. Documents blanketed the conference table like a legal snowstorm, and her compact figure had been curled into the swivel chair for so long she felt like a meatball. "Mr. Cott, I'll take a message and tell Bennie -- "

"I refuse to leave any more messages! Get Ms. Benedetta Rosato on the line! I demand to know why she won't represent me! She specializes in constitutional rights, it says so on the computer!"

"The computer?"

"In the library! The website, your website! It says it right there! That's false advertising! What about my constitutional rights? They don't matter? I don't matter?"

"Mr. Cott, no lawyer can take every case," Mary answered, then hesitated. Bennie had told the associates not to engage Premenstrual Tom, but if she could explain it to him, maybe he'd stop calling. "I think Bennie told you she didn't think your case could prevail in court. She's practiced constitutional law for a long time and has excellent judgment, so -- "

"All those judges are in on it! All of them are crooked, every single one of them! City Hall is a pit of conspiracy and corruption! They're all in the mayor's pocket!"

"Mr. Cott, the judges in City Hall aren't crooked, and your case would be in federal court anyway -- "

"You're not fooling me, either of you! Put Ms. Benedetta Rosato on the telephone right now! I know she's there! She must be, she's not at home!"

Mary blinked. "How do you know she's -- "

"I went to her house! I knocked on her door, I waited for her to answer! The windows were dark!"

Mary stiffened. "How did you get her address?"

"It's in the phone book, I looked it up! What do you think I am, incapable? I may not have a fancy law degree, but I am not incapable, MS. MARY DiNUNZIO!"

Mary suddenly stopped feeling sorry for him. He was shouting louder now, almost screaming.

"I SAID, get MS. BENEDETTA ROSATO on this telephone RIGHT NOW! I KNOW she's right there with you!"

"Mr. Cott, if you'll just -- "


"Mr. Cott, I'm not -- "

"I'll come down there, you LYING WHORE! I'll come down there and SHOOT -- "

Mary hung up, shaken. The conference room fell abruptly silent. The air felt charged. It took her a moment to process what had just happened. Okay, Premenstrual Tom had morphed into Psychotic Tom, and it wasn't funny anymore. Bennie was at an ACLU dinner, but it would be ending soon. She could be going home. Mary had to warn her. She reached for the phone to call the boss's cell.

Rring, rrriiinng! The phone rang underneath Mary's hand, jarring her. Rrrriiinng! She gritted her teeth and let it ring twice more so voicemail would pick up. She should never have engaged Premenstrual Tom. When would she learn? Her goodgirl reflexes -- Help Out, Be Nice, Tell the Truth -- sucked in the practice of law.

Mary pushed the button for her direct phone line and called Bennie, but there was no answer. She left a detailed message, then hung up, uneasy. She'd call her back in five minutes to make sure the boss had gotten the message.

Mary eased back in her swivel chair, wishing suddenly that she weren't alone in the office. She eyed the doorway to the conference room, surprised to find the threshold dark. Who turned out the lights in the reception area? Maybe the cleaning people, when they'd left.

I'll come down there and shoot

Mary eyed the phone, daring it to ring again. She didn't leave it off the hook because the drill was to record threatening messages for evidence, in case the office had to go for a restraining order, like with Premenstrual Fred. Mary wondered fleetingly if she could find a career that didn't attract garden variety homicidal rage or bad television commercials.

She told herself to get over it. Premenstrual Tom had been blowing off steam, and there was a security desk in the lobby of the building. The guard wouldn't let anybody upstairs without calling her first, especially after business hours, and nowadays you couldn't get past the desk without a driver's license and a mortgage note.

She got back to work, tucking a dark blonde tendril into its loose French twist, and picking up the document she'd been reading. It was a letter dated December 17, 1941, from the provost marshal general's office, a federal agency that no longer existed. Its type was grainy because it was a Xerox copy of a photocopy of a carbon copy, and on another night, Mary would have gotten a charge out of its vintage. Everybody in the office called her case the History Channel, but she loved the History Channel. Mary loved mostly everything on cable except The Actor's Studio, which she wouldn't watch at gunpoint. But she didn't want to think about gunpoint right now ...


Excerpted from Killer Smile by Scottoline, Lisa Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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