Unlucky in Law

Unlucky in Law

Book - 2005
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Nina Reilly takes on the most dangerous and difficult case of her career in New York Times bestselling author Perri O'Shaughnessy's latest thriller. An ingenious blend of forensic science, history, and gripping suspense, Unlucky in Law pits the tough but compassionate attorney against the most unbeatable adversary of all: the law.

Nina has just received a last-minute call from her old boss and mentor in Monterey County, California, where she is enjoying the breathtaking scenery and spending time with her boyfriend, P.I. Paul van Wagoner. Klaus Pohlmann is in desperate straits and begs Nina to take over a seemingly unwinnable case: A luckless two-time felon named Stefan Wyatt has robbed a grave and made off with the long-buried bones of a Russian émigré. When he is caught and arrested, further devastating evidence found in the grave suggests that Stefan is guilty of a far more deadly crime.

A young woman, a classmate of Stefan's, has been killed, and he is accused of her murder. Now, as a result of California's Third Strike law, Wyatt is looking at twenty-five years to life whether he's convicted of grand theft or murder. Either way, he's in big trouble.
With her client's blood DNA found in the dead woman's apartment, Nina faces an uphill battle. Suspecting that her hapless client has been set up, Nina brings in a brilliant forensic pathologist who comes up with a startling theory about the case that could rewrite a crucial page of European history. As the evidence mounts against Nina's client, Paul launches his own investigation into the shadowy past of the two-decades-old skeleton. But long-held secrets nearly get him killed and reveal a more insidious evil at work--and an extraordinary story dating back to tsarist Russia and the Romanov court. As Wyatt edges closer to the unluckiest verdict of his young life, Nina makes an astounding discovery that just might save her client--or expose a killer who could bury them all.

Brilliantly imagined and compulsively readable, Unlucky in Law is a beguiling mix of wrenching drama and gripping action. And it is Perri O'Shaughnessy's most accomplished novel to date.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Dell, 2005, c2004.
Edition: Dell mass market ed.
ISBN: 9780440240884
Characteristics: 427 p. : map ; 18 cm.


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Apr 19, 2019

Good story with the mentor, but the other stuff detracts
Nina Reilly gets a call from her old mentor to sit second-chair on a murder case that started with a grave robbery.
The story that the client tells is surprisingly plausible...he was hired to rob a grave, which he did. Except when he's caught, the cops go back and check the grave he robbed and find out that there's now a fresh body in it and he's charged with murder. It's a simple twist but there is little doubt through the case that he's not guilty and there is "something else" going on. And just to complicate things, her mentor is basically dumping the case on her, has done almost no prep, is showing early signs of dementia, and the PI he hired did almost no work either. Nina has her hands full just as Paul proposes.
There are two threads running through the story that are less than optimal. First, the premise of the mystery is that the dead body that is stolen is tied to a society of Russian conspiracy theorists who suspect he was tied to the Romanoffs (hey, he's Russian, he must be, right?). This is about the fourth book I've read in the last two years that threw in a Romanoff angle, and it's not handled that well, although most don't anyway. Second, the marriage proposal from Paul leads to a bunch of emotional drama and angst, and detracts heavily from the story. It reads more like a bad romance novel than a mystery.
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the authors, nor do I follow them on social media.

Sep 01, 2010

This novel didn't grap me as much as the previous books in this series. The pace of the story got bogged down by the author's obsession with historical details.


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