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 up--disgruntled 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.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000 Release date: 08/01/2000 Genre: Fiction
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