Title: Damaged by Lisa Scottoline
Rosato and DiNunzio Series Book Four
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
One boy. One lawyer. One chance for justice.
Ten-year-old Patrick O’Brien is a natural target at school. Shy, dyslexic, and small for his age, he tries to hide his first-grade reading level from everyone: from his classmates, from the grandfather who cares for him, and from the teachers who are supposed to help him. But the real trouble begins when Patrick is accused of attacking a school aide. The aide promptly quits and sues the boy, his family, and the school district. Patrick’s grandfather turns to the law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio for help and Mary DiNunzio is on the case. Soon Mary becomes Patrick’s true champion and his only hope for security and justice. But there is more to the story than meets the eye and Patrick might be more troubled than he seems. With twists at every turn and secrets about the family coming to light, Mary DiNunzio might have found the case that can make her a true protector, or break her heart…
With Lisa Scottoline’s trademark emotional depth and fast-paced action, Damaged will have readers riveted to the last page as they root for the beloved characters and their fight for justice.
Damaged, the latest addition to Lisa Scottoline’s Rosato and DiNunzio series, is a perplexing legal mystery that delves into the intricacies of special education law and family law.
Mary DiNunzio is the final two weeks of wedding preparations when she finds herself knee deep in a heartbreaking case involving a ten year old boy and his grandfather. Retired accountant Edward O’Brien hires Mary to defend his grandson Patrick after the child is accused of attacking his teacher’s aide, Steven Robertson, with a pair of scissors. Robertson’s attorney is notorious and diabolical legal shark, Nick Machiavelli, whose immature taunts and dastardly manipulations immediately infuriate Mary. After the case takes a deadly turn, she jeopardizes her relationship with her fiancé Anthony Rotunno when she impetuously makes a decision without consulting him. Desperate to rescue Patrick before he is irreparably damaged by the system that is designed to protect him, Mary works feverishly to solve a shocking murder but will she become the killer’s next victim?
Helping special needs children get the best education possible is what Mary does best and she is willing to do whatever is necessary to help Edward navigate the complicated system for his grandson. She is incensed at Nick’s legal shenanigans and she sometimes acts before she thinks. She is immediately on the offensive trying to anticipate his next move, but Mary is stunned at how far he will go to outmaneuver her. As the situation with Patrick worsens, she genuinely wants what is best for the young boy, but some of her decisions are a little naive and ill-planned. Mary’s heart is in the right place, but she is definitely out of her depth and making choices that could do more harm than good in the long run.
The allegations against Patrick are not easy to prove but they are equally difficult to disprove as well. While Mary knows the special education laws inside out, backwards and upside down, she is on unfamiliar ground once Patrick reveals shocking information about Steven Robertson. After the case takes a heartrending turn, she is even more determined than ever to save the young boy, but things begin moving so fast that she can barely keep up. Mary is puzzled by some of the details she stumbles across but she is so overwhelmed by everything that is happening, the truth remains tantalizingly out of reach. Will Mary be able to solve the mystery before it is too late?
With plenty of intriguing twists and turns, Damaged is a fast-paced and compelling mystery. Lisa Scottoline’s research into special education laws and family law is absolutely impeccable and provides depth to the various story arcs. The storyline is interesting with unexpected plot twists that will keep the reader guessing whodunit and why right up until the dramatic showdown between Mary and the murderer(s). Although Damaged is the fourth book in the Rosato and DiNunzio series, it can easily be read as a standalone.