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The Vendetta Defense    by Lisa Scottoline order for
Vendetta Defense
by Lisa Scottoline
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I have been looking forward to Judy Carrier's turn to star in one of Scottoline's novels and she does so in The Vendetta Defense, when she takes the case of elderly pigeon racer Anthony Lucia. Pigeon Tony confesses to his lawyer the killing of his old enemy Angelo Coluzzi, claiming that Coluzzi murdered his wife, son and daughter-in-law.

Judy is charmed by her client, and even more so by his grandson Frank, but wrestles with her conscience in taking on a self confessed killer. Coluzzi's sons, who now head his dirty construction empire have no second thoughts. They're out for vengeance against the Lucia's and their lawyer. Judy and Frank dodge bombs and bullets, as the lawyer tries to get her case to trial, and to fight back with all the writs at her disposal.

Judy's boss Bennie Rosato makes a few brief appearances as does her best friend, Mary (recuperating at home from the author's last novel) and Mary's dad and neighbors. In fact, these pastry munching old codgers are the best acts in the book. There's also a new lawyer in the firm, Murphy, who seems set to get her own time on stage eventually.

As Scottoline's readers have come to expect, the light veneer covers a more serious depth of intriguing legal issues. In her last book, an innocent client claimed guilt. In this one, his lawyer claims innocence of murder for a client who is demonstrably accountable for the death of his victim. As always, the author mixes in with the legal dilemma familiar faces, plenty of action and romance. She can't miss.

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