Delacorte, Jul 2004 25.00, 376 pp.
Attorney Nina Reilly moved from Tahoe to Carmel, California to spend time with her lover, private investigator Paul van Wagoner to see if they can make it. As Paul offers her diamonds and great sex, her mentor whom she once clerked for, Klaus Pohlmann, a terrific trial lawyer, asks for her help in court. However, Klaus is not what he once was as his mind wanders with his colleagues at Pohlmann, Cunningham, Turk wondering if the great man should retire.
The client, two-time loser Stefan Wyatt, is accused of murder, grave robbing and grave burying as he is accused of stealing valuables from one corpse and interring a fresh body, that of a fellow student. If convicted of any of the counts, Stefan would become a long time guest of the State due to California's Third Strike law. Nina leads the inquiries with Paul's' help that connect back to Tsarist Russia; she also provides much of the legalese at the trial as she acts more like first seat than her befuddled mentor.
UNLUCKY IN LAW is an interesting legal thriller due to Nina's dilemma to be married or not to be married that is the question and the deterioration of the keen mind of Klaus (even her son Bob waits breathlessly). However, the key courtroom drama seems off kilter and never quite hooks the jury (reader). Still the investigation is fun to follow with its ties to Tsarist Russia and Anastasia on top of whether Nina and Paul move on or move out.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner