When attorney Jack Newlin discovers his wife dead in their home, he's convinced he knows who killed her—and is equally determined to hide the truth. He decides to frame himself for murder, and to seal his fate he hires the most inexperienced lawyer he can find: a reluctant rookie by the name of Mary DiNunzio from the hot Philadelphia firm of Rosato & Associates. But hiring Mary may turn out to be his biggest mistake. She doubts Jack's confession, and her ethics and instincts tell her she can't defend a man who wants to convict himself. Smarter, gutsier, and more persistent than she has any right to be, Mary sets out to prove what really happened—because, as any lawyer knows, a case is never as simple as it seems. And nothing is ever certain until the final moment of truth.
A bullet-proof premise distinguishes this expert crime thriller from Scottoline (Mistaken Identity): handsome, successful estates lawyer Jack Newlin frames himself for the murder of his heiress wife in order to shield the real killer, their 16-year-old daughter, Paige. It doesn't matter to Jack that Philadelphia's hyper D.A., Dwight Davis, wants the death penalty--Jack is determined to protect his girl, a legally emancipated model who dabbles in crystal meth despite her recently discovered pregnancy. But not everyone is buying Jack's eager confession. Something about his story bothers veteran detective Reginald Brinkley, who's convinced that the traces of physical evidence at the murder scene point to Paige, and possibly to her preppy boyfriend, Trevor. And Mary DiNunzio, the young lawyer Jack hires for her presumed inexperience, finds herself Jack's "worst enemy" as she, too, begins focusing on the jittery teenager. Scottoline cuts a few corners: it's implausible that Mary, schooled only in "the law according to Steven Bochco," would be running such a big case unsupervised, or that this lapsed Catholic with hardwired guilt would allow herself to represent Paige while fighting for Jack, on whom she's developed an unprofessional crush. But Mary is a most appealing crusader, with a highly developed working-class wit ("she struck Mary instantly as the kind of girl for whom the delicate cycle was invented"). Sharp, funny characters, crafty plot twists, and a flavorful depiction of high- and lower-middle Philadelphia society will keep readers riveted to this tense, often mischievous page-turner.