When prosecutor Vicki Allegretti arrives at a rowhouse to meet a confidential informant, she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time -- and is almost shot to death. She barely escapes with her life, but cannot save the two others gunned down before her disbelieving eyes. Stunned and heartbroken, Vicki tries to figure out how a routine meeting on a minor case became a double homicide.
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. Agent, Molly Friedrich. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 31, 2006
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Excerpt from Devil's Corner by Lisa Scottoline
Vicki Allegretti always wondered what it would feel like to look into the barrel of a loaded gun, and now she knew. The gun was a black Glock, nine millimeter, and it was aimed at her right eye. Vicki observed the scene out-of-body, as if it were happening to a girl with a better sense of humor. Wonder if black guns make you look thinner, she thought.
Holding her point-blank was an African-American teenager with cornrows, who looked as terrified as she was. He looked about fourteen years old, showing just a shadow of a mustache, and his brown eyes were jittery with fear. He kept shifting his weight in his big Iversons, standing tall in baggy jeans and a red satin Sixers jacket. He'd frozen in place when he'd come downstairs and found Vicki standing there, his shocked expression suggesting that he hadn't shot many lawyers. At least not his share.
"You don't want to do this, pal," she said, only apparently calmly. The kid's long fingers trembled on the gun's crosshatched grip, and his other hand cradled a bulge underneath his jacket, as if he were hiding something. She had evidently interrupted a burglary by a rookie. Unfortunately, the Glock was an all-star. "I'm an assistant U.S. Attorney."
"Wha?" The teenager swallowed hard, his eyes flickering with confusion.
"I work for the Justice Department. Killing me is like killing a cop." Okay, it wasn't technically true, but it should have been. "If you shoot me, they'll try you as an adult. They'll go for the death penalty."
"Get your hands up!" The teenager's eyes flared, and he wet his lips with a large, dry tongue.
"Okay, sure. Relax." Vicki raised her hands slowly, fighting the instinct to run. He'd shoot her in the back if she did; the living room was so small, she'd never make it to the front door. Maybe she could talk her way out of it. "Listen, you don't want to upgrade a burglary charge to murder. The stuff that's under your jacket is yours now. Take it and run."