Friday, August 01, 2008

BOOKS: Everywhere That Mary Went - Lisa Scottoline

I don't understand how anybody could enjoy Torture Porn filth like the "Saw" series. Stalker Porn (think of any of several Jennifer Lopez movies) only mystifies me slightly less. How can anybody derive enjoyment from reading about or watching somebody's terror is beyond me. Needless to say, these are two genres I don't indulge much reading in.

Frankly, Everywhere That Mary Went by Lisa Scottoline skates a little too close to the Stalker Porn cesspool than I would like. I needed something earthly and earthy after the Samurai Girls fantasies and the outright SF of Jack Campbell and Tanya Huff last week. So, I went a little deeper into the reading pool and came up with an early Scottoline work, the progenitor of her Rosato and Associates books. It's 15 years old, but was re-released in paperback just at the start of this century.

Several times, I just about gave up the book, feeling very uneasy about the goings on around young, widowed lawyer Mary DiNunzio. She lost her husband to an unsolved hit-and-run a year before the book starts. She's getting notes, hangup phone calls and the occasional glimpse of big ominous car. Her saving grace is a best friend, who's another lawyer at her firm, and her legal secretary, a gay man who's been with her for all eight years there.

Stressed out over the impending decision that will make her a partner or a pariah, DiNunzio can't effectively deal with the stalker, for fear of losing needed votes to become partner. Then, the secretary is killed by that ominous car in yet another hit-and-run death. Could these two deaths be linked? Is somebody killing the men in her life? DiNunzio comes a hair's breath from falling completely apart. She retreats to her traditional Italian family, which includes a twin sister, who's a nun in a convent. DiNunzio is a lapsed Catholic and frankly feels too much like a lost little lamb most of the time.

It was about the time that the overly foul-mouthed DiNunzio confronts her religious background and visits her sequestered sister, that I resolved to finish the book. Like DiNunzio deciding to fight the battle straight on, I saw hope at the end of the tunnel. Although DiNunzio does nothing directly to reveal the stalker's identity, there's an effective ending sequence to the book, with the stalker getting justice in an agreeable way. The last page of the book is a spirit-lifter.

Depending on your ability to handle Stalker Porn, even as well done as this, you have my recommendation to read it.

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