HarperCollins, Mar 2001, 25.00, 400 pp.
Philadelphia contains a special law firm, Rosato and Associates, that consists exclusively of women, who have each had at least one case where someone shot them or otherwise injured them. Mary DiNunzio is on sabbatical recovering from wounds received while defending a client. Her friend and co-worker Judy Carrier, misses Mary, but the latter feels safe working civil suits and preparing briefs.
That changes when Judy agrees to defend “Pigeon Tony” Lucia against a murder charge. The DA accuses Pigeon Tony of killing Angelo Coluzzi, a person he has known for six decades. Tony believes that Angelo killed his wife, son. and daughter-in-law. Consequently, he snapped the neck of Angelo. The Coluzzi family is well connected in South Philly and goes to extraordinary lengths to silence Tony and his lawyer, but the intrepid Judy refuses to stop representing her client. She wants justice, not the law served.
The law and justice do not always match as the theme of THE VENDETTA DEFENSE indicates. This leads to important distinctions and even more important issues that hold the audience in thrall as they anxiously wait to see Lisa Scottoline's position on justice vs. the law. Judy's legal strategy is brilliant and remains on the right side of the law although she doubts justice will be served for her client. Tony has stolen a piece of Judy's heart with his grief and likewise does this to the reader also even with the knowledge that he killed a man. Lisa Scottoline has written a clever, intelligent legal procedural that sub-genre fans will relish as the story line focuses on the essence of the justice system.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner