Moment of Truth

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9780060196097: Moment of Truth

A winner of the Edgar Award and the bestselling author of six acclaimed novels, Lisa Scottoline has unabashedly earned the distinction "queen of the legal thriller." Critics have celebrated her storytelling talents, noting that she skillfully depicts "personal quirks that give her characters dimension." Publishers Weekly has raved that "Scottoline's legal background lends verisimilitude" to her stories, and Kirkus Reviews has praised her ability to devise terrific plots, proclaiming that she "comes up with the best hooks in the legal trade." Now this gifted author has summoned her array of talents to pen Moment of Truth, her most exciting and unpredictable novel yet--a riveting story of a man who frames himself for murder.

Attorney Jack Newlin comes home one evening to find his wife, Honor, dead on the floor of their elegant dining room. Convinced that he knows who killed her--and determined to hide the truth--Jack decides to make it look as though he did it. Staging the crime scene so that the evidence incriminates him, he then calls the police. And to hammer the final nail in his own coffin, he hires the most inexperienced lawyer he can find, a reluctant rookie by the name of Mary DiNunzio, employed at the hot Philadelphia firm of Rosato & Associates.

Unfortunately for Jack, hiring Mary may turn out to be his only mistake.

Though inexperienced, Mary doubts Jack's confession and begins to investigate the crime. She finds that instead of having a guilty client who is falsely proclaiming his innocence, she has an innocent client who is falsely proclaiming his guilt. Her ethics and instincts tell her she can't defend a man who wants only one thing--to convict himself. Or can she? Smarter, gutsier, and more determined than she has any right to be, Mary decides to stick with the case. With help from the most unexpected sources, she sets out to prove what really happened--because as any lawyer knows, a case is never as simple as it seems.

And nothing is ever certain until the final moment of truth.

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Review:

Moment of Truth begins with what appears to be an open-and-shut case. Jack Newlin, a wealthy attorney with one of the most influential law firms in Philadelphia, killed his wife in a moment of drunken passion, stabbing her repeatedly when she announced she wanted a divorce. Or at least that is what he is claiming to the police.

The fact is, Jack is framing himself because he fears his wife's murder was his daughter's crime of passion. Sixteen-year-old Paige Newlin is a successful model whose relationship with her manager-mother had been famously rocky. To make sure that he's convicted, Jack hires rookie lawyer Mary DiNunzio to defend him. But Mary doesn't buy Jack's story, and neither does the senior detective on the case. In a fascinating turn on the usual courtroom tale, then, Jack struggles to maintain his false story of guilt while his lawyer and the police struggle to prove him innocent. Meanwhile, Mary wrestles with both her uncertainty as a lawyer and with her attraction for her client.

Lisa Scottoline, often identified as the "female John Grisham," has led the pack of female authors in the legal thriller genre, winning an Edgar for her second novel, Final Appeal. Moment of Truth does have moments that don't, in fact, ring true. Why is Jack Newlin so quick to forgive his daughter when he thinks she's killed her own mother? And if he's so concerned with her welfare, why did he absent himself from her upbringing? But it's nonetheless interesting for its innovative plot conceit and its examination of high-profile murder trials. If one is able to overlook the problems with Newlin's motivation, the story Scottoline weaves is a compelling one, and her heroine, Mary, is an enjoyable, self-doubting twist on the super-lawyer at the center of most legal thrillers. --Patrick O'Kelley

From the Back Cover:

Moment of Truth is the story of a man who frames himself for murder. When attorney Jack Newlin discovers his wife dead in their elegant home, he's convinced he knows who killed her -- and is equally determined to hide the truth. He decides to take the rap, and to seal his fate he hires the most inexperienced lawyer he can find, a reluctant rookie by the name of Mary DiNunzio from the hot Philadelphia firm of Rosato & Associates. But hiring Mary may turn out to be his biggest mistake. Mary doubts Jack's confession, and her ethics and instincts tell her she can't defend a man who wants to convict himself. Smarter, gutsier, and more persistent than she has any right to be, Mary sets out to prove what really happened -- because as any lawyer knows, a case is never as simple as it seems. And nothing is ever certain until the final moment of truth.

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