Perri O'Shaughnessy, Author . Delacorte $24.95 (390p) ISBN 978-0-385-33645-1

When lawyer Nina Reilly muses while swimming at the start of this book about how many years she has left to enjoy life's pleasures, she startles us by the revelation that she is in her mid-thirties. Is that all? The O'Shaughnessy sisters, Pamela and Mary, have packed so much adventure, romance, crime and law into their books starring Reilly that we'd swear she was at least 50. And their latest outing, number nine, is no exception. Staying with her lover, investigator Paul van Wagoner, in his Carmel Valley condo while she reexamines her life after the traumatic events of 2002's Unfit to Practice dislodged her from her South Lake Tahoe home and office, Reilly is torn between Paul's obvious sexual appeal and his irksome urging for some form of long-term commitment. Then the 21-year-old Native American son of Nina's former secretary, Sandy Whitefeather, winds up in the middle of a murder and arson investigation, and Nina and Paul barely have a moment free for cuddling or bickering. Plotting has never been an O'Shaughnessy strong suit (in an acknowledgment, the authors mention an editor "who, with this book especially, has shown her rare ability to catch the lags, the vagueness, and the illogic of our manuscript"—a few glitches still slipped through). But the series' real virtues are intact: well-rounded and likable characters set against a richly described backdrop of some of the loveliest country in the world. Agent, Nancy Yost. (July 29)

Reviewed on: 06/16/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
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