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BETRAYED by Lisa Scottoline: Book Review

The new, all-woman Philadelphia law firm of Rosato & DiNuncio is doing well, with an ever-increasing client base.  The two partners, Bennie Rosato and Mary DiNuncio, are excited about the new addition to this list, Bendaflex, but the firm’s associate, Judy Carrier, is less than happy. 

Bendaflex is a firm that manufactures asbestos, and it has just lost a liabilities case involving hundreds of their former workers.  Judy is upset that Bennie has agreed to take on this client, and she’s horrified to learn that she will be the attorney trying the cases, attempting to have Bendaflex pay as little as possible both to the employees who were injured by exposure to the company’s product and to the families of those who died because of it.

In addition, a family medical issue is playing out.  Judy has always been extremely close to her mother’s sister, her Aunt Barb, probably closer than she is to her own mother.  So she is devastated to learn that her aunt has been diagnosed with stage II breast cancer.   Barb has kept her illness from her sister and niece in the hope that chemotherapy would eradicate the cancer cells, but some remain. 

Now she has to tell them that she will undergo a mastectomy in two days.  Barb’s sister Delia, Judy’s mother, wants to stay in Philadelphia to care for her, but Barb has already arranged for a close friend to help her, and she introduces Judy and Delia to Iris Juarez.

Iris entered the United States illegally from Mexico years ago.  The two women met when Iris became the housekeeper when Barb’s husband was ill.  They share a love of gardening, and Barb is confident that having Iris stay with her while she’s recuperating is a win-win for everyone; she will pay Iris, who is in a low-paying job, for her time and she will enjoy having Iris’ company and help. 

Delia is angry that her sister would prefer Iris to her.  Then Iris gets a phone call which obviously upsets her, and she says she needs to leave for work.  Several hours later police arrive at Barb’s house with the devastating news that Iris has been found dead in her car, apparently of a heart attack.

Betrayed covers numerous issues that confront the single, professional woman.  One is the feeling of being torn in so many directions, as Judy wants to spend time with her aunt but feels enormous pressure to be available for her clients.  Second is how to handle the Bendaflex situation, since Bennie is adamant, despite Judy’s protests, about not refusing this work.   Third is Judy’s relationship with Frank, a man she cares for and who loves her.  She is beginning to wonder if their very different outlooks on and approaches to life can ever be reconciled.

Lisa Scottoline has written books about each member of the law firm, and each novel is a portrait of its protagonist.  These women are most definitely not carbon copies of each other; rather, each has a distinctive personality and brings both strengths and weaknesses to the firm and to her own life.  Betrayed is a wonderful addition to Ms. Scottoline’s body of work.

You can read more about Lisa Scottoline at this web site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.



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