New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline delivers a knockout stand-alone thriller featuring a young federal prosecutor who risks her life to bring down the kingpin of a conspiracy responsible for murders in West Philly.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Vicki Allegretti goes to meet a confidential informant and finds herself facing a loaded 9 mm Glock semiautomatic weapon, wielded by a panicky teenager. Violence is the last thing this neophyte lawyer expects. The case is easy, the kind given to new ADAs to help them cut their teeth. Yet almost before she has time to react, her partner is dead, shot in the chest.
From that high-octane introduction to her job, Vicki vows to continue with the case, protect her informant, and find the shadowy figure behind the death of her partner. This decision will take her to the depths of the federal detention center’s “bowl,” to a row house on the street where she grew up, and to the posh suburbs where her parents now live. Set against the gritty backdrop of a modern American city and imbued with Lisa Scottoline’s trademark style and wit, Cater Street is the story of a determined young lawyer seeking justice.
Scottoline's 12th novel was inspired by a real-life jury trial for crack-cocaine trafficking of members of one of the most violent gangs in Philadelphia history (in her acknowledgments, the former trial lawyer admits she watches cases like these "for fun"). Such inspiration lends a tough, uncompromising realism to this stand-alone legal thriller. Scottoline (Killer Smile; Dead Ringer; etc.) sets the book in Philly, of course, and her lead this time is assistant U.S. Attorney Vicki Alegretti, whose petite frame belies her gutsy, unbridled determination on the job. While conducting a routine interview with a confidential informant on a straightforward matter, things go awry, and Vicki's partner along with the informant is shot. Resolved to find the killer, Vicki takes on the case (unbeknownst to her boss), and that's when the twists begin. In short chapters with cliffhanger endings, Scottoline spins a tale that finds Vicki joining forces with Reheema, a gorgeous black woman from the drug-ridden West Philly neighborhood of Devil's Corner. Reheema wants to find the person responsible for murdering her crack-addicted mother, and as she and Vicki play detective, they realize the murders may be connected and that they're getting increasingly closer to bringing down a sizable drug ring. Scottoline's ability to mix humor with serious subject matter, combined with her intense research of inner city drug trafficking and a side plot involving Vicki's love life, make for compelling entertainment.