In the latest legal thriller from Edgar Award winning author Lisa Scottoline (Devil’s Corner, Killer Smile) there is some sexual deviancy, a dash of Hollywood dreaming, a pinch of police procedural and you put that in a bowl mixed with courtroom melodrama and you have Dirty Blonde. It’s a relatively pleasing mix with enough excitement along the way.
Staying close to the successful template Scottoline has created, Dirty Blonde opens with Cate Fante, a new character in the Scottoline universe, celebrating her ascension to the position of federal judge. Her first case is about the extremely popular cable show “Attorneys At Law.” Plaintiff Richard Marz claims that successful producer and former friend, Art Simone, stole his idea for the series. Cate hears the evidence but reluctantly has to rule in favor of Art Simone, which caused Marz to go after Simone in court. Both things make it reasonable to point to motive.
Motive you ask. Yes, motive. Soon after the case is over both Marz and Simone are found dead. An apparent murder suicide. Or is it? That storyline thread doesn’t come to fruition until later on in the book. But as this is happening Cate is indulging in her sexual promiscuity. Going out and picking up sleazy men in low class dives in bad neighborhoods and having sex with them is what made Cate – “a dirty blonde”. This thread then goes array when one of Cates encounters, one Jim “Elvis” Partridge is found dead. He’d fallen off a balcony. Not only that but her encounter with him was secretly videotaped.
Marz’s friend and script consultant for the stolen project, Philadelphia Detective Frank Russo, who also happened to testify in court gets assigned to the Partridge case and finds the tape with Cate. Russo confronts Cate with the tape and soon the media gets wind and Cate gets suspended from the bench, and ultimately has to run for her life.
Overall, Dirty Blonde is a little under whelming as whole but the stories within the story are actually quite interesting. The description of Centralia, Pennsylvania is very good and the unveiling of Cate’s past in that part is also good. The second half of the book really picks up steam and Rosenblatt Barbara’s performance was befitting of the material. Fan of Scottoline’s style will be satisfied until the next case with Mary Denunzio comes out.