Exposed: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel, by Lisa Scottoline

This is the fifth book from Scottoline built around the Philadelphia law partnership of Bennie Rosato and Mary DiNunzio, which in turn grew out of her popular Rosato & Associates series.

Mary DiNunzio was made partner in the firm a few books ago. She comes from the Italian section of Philadelphia and has built a large client base from her connections with old neighbors and friends. In this novel a long-time friend Simon has been fired from his job. He was recently widowed and now has a five-year-old daughter receiving expensive cancer treatments. He believes he was fired because of the increasing insurance costs. Mary agrees to take the case at no charge.

Bennie Rosato, meanwhile, sees an immediate conflict of interest because Simon was fired from a subsidiary of one of her oldest and biggest clients. This puts Bennie and Mary at loggerheads. Mary because she promised she’d take the case in front of her father and other old friends. Bennie because she’s been friends with the owner of the corporation since law school.

It’s an issue that may split them apart, even after they agree to work together when a key witness ends up dead and Simon is accused of the murder.

Scottoline has honed the relationship between Bennie and Mary to a fine point, and Mary’s best friend Judy has to act as referee. Even when the conversations focus on legal details the dialogue is fast, funny, and often touching. There are plenty of legal details, including suing for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the arcane language that legal ethics rules are written in. After all this time, however, Scottoline knows to focus on characters and drama, and there are plenty of both.