New York Times bestselling author Perri O'Shaughnessy takes the courtroom thriller to breathtaking new heights in Move to Strike, a page-turning masterpiece of suspense. Featuring Nina Reilly, hailed by critics as "one of the most interesting heroines in legal thrillers today," * Move to Strike is a spellbinding tale of stolen treasure and twisted revenge set in the high desert of Nevada and the mountains of Lake Tahoe.
An attorney and single mother, Nina Reilly runs her one-woman law practice in South Lake Tahoe, balancing compassion and cunning with a passion for justice. But Nina is wholly unprepared for her latest client--sixteen-year-old Nicole Zack, a rebel, a thief, and the best friend of Nina's teenage son, Bob. Did Nikki steal something from her uncle, a prominent plastic surgeon, and then kill him with an ancient samurai sword? The district attorney is trying Nikki as an adult and the charge is first degree murder.
With the stakes this high, Nina calls in private investigator Paul Van Wagoner, her ex-lover and constant ally, whose bravado conceals a troubling personal secret. As Paul investigates the eerily coincidental death of the surgeon's son--killed in a plane crash the same night his father was murdered--Nina sorts through the twisting lies surrounding Nikki, uncovering a bitter struggle over a mining claim, enraged former patients, and two old crimes. Finally, Nina must confront the central question she
needs to answer in order to save her client: What did Nikki really see the night of her uncle's murder?
Taut, thought-provoking, and utterly gripping, Move to Strike grapples with the profound question of what to do when the law does not suffice. It is a novel you won't want to put down until the last twist is unraveled and the last satisfying page is turned.
* San Jose Mercury News
Crime knocks at lawyer Nina Reilly's door once again in this breathy legal drama, the sixth in a series, set in the resort community of Lake Tahoe, Nev. This time it is single mother Reilly's 13-year-old son, Bob, who steers her toward a new case, begging her to defend his friend, 16-year-old Nikki Zack. Nikki is accused of killing her rich uncle, plastic surgeon Bill Sykes, with a 16th-century samurai sword. She says she didn't do it, but the evidence suggests otherwise. Nikki was on the scene at the time of the killing and was known to hold a grudge against her selfish and stingy uncle. Even Reilly, a softie for the underdog, has to admit it doesn't look good for Nikki, until several other suspects pop upAdisgruntled patients of Sykes, a lecherous business partner, other bitter family members. The case is confused by the death of Sykes's 19-year-old son the same day in a plane crash while returning to Lake Tahoe from L.A. Complicating matters further is a mining claim in northern Nevada that's yielding lots of high-grade opals. The claim used to belong to Nikki's family until Sykes convinced Nikki's ditzy mom, Daria, to sell it to him at a steep discount. O'Shaughnessy, the pseudonym for sisters Mary and Pamela O'Shaughnessy, splits the action between Reilly's courtroom maneuvering and the detective work of her longtime investigator, Paul van Wagoner, whose role is greatly expanded this time around. Van Wagoner lacks the requisite magnetism for co-star status, and the plot swivels in a few unlikely directions, leading up to a far-fetched finale. Nevertheless, Reilly fans should enjoy this latest entry in a thriving series. Agent, Nancy Yost. Major ad/promo; BOMC and Mystery Guild main selections; Doubleday Book Club and Literary Guild alternates. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 04, 2001
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Excerpt from Move to Strike by Perri O'Shaughnessy
Moist night wind swept the skin on her arms and flicked sharp points of hair into her eyes. Pulling her sweatshirt tight against the gusts, Nikki tucked her hair inside the hood and splashed the oars into the deep black water of Lake Tahoe. A hundred years ago, under the same crescent moon, a Washoe Indian in a kayak would have known how to dip the oars silently, secretly, but no matter how she tipped them, they sucked water into the air, leaving behind a trail of sound.
Silvery snow tipped the mountain peaks that circled like clouds around the lake. She stayed close enough to the shoreline--flat black trees against a glinting navy sky--to track her progress, but far enough out to remain unidentifiable by anyone nosy enough to observe her. She could not be caught, because tonight . . .
Tonight, she was going on a raid! And for the first time, she was going alone. She felt high with the strength of her arms and the tautness of her legs as she rowed, as high as she had felt on New Year's Eve when her mom had let her drink champagne, so even though she didn't like being out here all alone, floating above a deep, dark immensity she didn't want to think about, she wasn't about to turn back.
Scott would have come with her if she had told him about it, but tonight--tonight was personal. She was not just skulking and peeking in windows for a joke, or scrounging a few leftover Heinekens from an outside cooler. Not that she didn't miss having him along. She wouldn't mind a warm body beside her floating into this dark moonlit haze.
As a steady breeze blew over the lake, the water churned, pushing her farther out than she liked. But it wasn't far now.
She knew what she was doing was wrong. But a while back, being bad had stopped feeling bad. Scott had helped with that. So many rules were stupid. He had shown her a whole new way of thinking. You had to make your own way.
Tonight was about making something really wrong right again.
She stretched. Her arms ached. She wasn't used to rowing so much, but then, her original plans for the year hadn't included breaking into someone's house. She hadn't exactly trained for it. She had been forced into it. Three days before, the mail brought a letter addressed to her mother from a law office. That scared her. Her mother wasn't around, so she had opened it. A so-far nice day turned real bad right then. The letter said they were about to be evicted. The landlord wanted his money, and he wanted it right now.
When her mom came home Nikki held the letter in her face, making her read it. "What is this?"
"Don't worry, honey," Daria had said in that drifty way she had. As if everything took care of itself somehow. As if they weren't going to have to pack their things in boxes in about two weeks and go squat in a condemned building. Nikki sat her down, tried to have a practical conversation with her. Where was her last paycheck?
Gone. They had had a lot of back bills to pay.
Not worth screaming about. The bills never got paid until the third notice because they weren't Daria's priority. At least this time she hadn't gotten rooked by some guy who was off to make his mark as an artist or a musician in Vegas.
What about her job? Nikki had asked. Where were the paychecks? Oh, she had lost that job a few weeks ago. She didn't want Nikki to worry and had planned to tell her just as soon as she had another one, which would be any day now.
Nikki had decided. They would resort to the unthinkable. They would borrow money, using Grandpa Logan's land in Nevada for collateral. That was when her mom got nervous and darted around the living room rearranging trinkets.
Finally, Daria had admitted it. She had sold the land to Nikki's uncle Bill for twelve hundred stinkin' dollars.
Her mom shrugged, saying what was done was done. "That land is in the middle of nowhere and it's basically worthless. He did us a favor."
"Where's the money?" Nikki had asked. Maybe Grandpa's land would perform a heroic rescue. Maybe it would save their home. But no. Her mom had already spent that too paying a few other late bills. The money was gone, just like everything else. Like her dad. Like the security she had once had: that she would have lunch money or new shoes in the fall.
Her mom had never grown up. She trusted everybody, even Uncle Bill. He had never helped them out before and he hadn't helped them out this time. Nikki knew darn good and well that land was worth more than he had paid. All you had to do was to check out the Reno Gazette. Land in Nevada was going up, even scrub desert in the foothills. You couldn't buy land for thirty bucks an acre. You couldn't buy anything for thirty bucks, period. He had taken advantage of her mom's totally inept sense of business.
All of which she had told her mom.
"Oh, honey. Your uncle's a very savvy businessman. Believe me, he knows how much that land is worth."
Duh! He knew, all right, but he was smart enough not to pay it.