By Lisa Scottoline
A retired accountant, Edward O’Brien, has asked attorney Mary DiNunzio to help defend his ten-year-old grandson, Patrick. The boy has been accused of attacking Steven Robertson, a teacher’s aide at Grayson Elementary. Patrick is dyslexic and Robertson has stated that Patrick attacked him with a pair of scissors.
Edward maintains that this is a lot of hot air, saying that his grandson couldn’t harm a fly. Yes, he’s shamed by his primitive reading skills, and has a habit of becoming sick when he is stressed from the constant bullying he has to put up with, but Patrick is really a sweet kid. To top this all off, Robertson’s lawsuit is simply to sidetrack attention away from the fact that the last time the aide saw Patrick getting sick, he hit the child hard enough to bruise his face.
When Mary investigates she finds that the situation is a whole lot worse than she originally thought. Robertson has a history of abusing Patrick, and when she tries to get answers it’s almost impossible.
Out of the blue, Edward dies and Mary asks for an emergency appeal to act as Patrick’s temporary guardian. However, evidence comes to light making Edward’s death look like murder, with Patrick being the obvious suspect.
The plot is ripe with characters and stories, yet the book seemed to get longer and longer during the custody meetings. Important to the tale, yes, but some went on a tad too long causing my attention to dim. After each meeting the story picked up once again and went along gaining energy. Towards the end, the twists came one right after the other as family secrets continued to fill the pages. Scottoline is always a fantastic writer, and if you’re into court scenes you will have no trouble with this title. If you do, keep reading, because the end will give you every ounce of suspense you crave.