Thursday, April 5, 2012

Come Home

by Lisa Scottoline, St, Martins Press, April 2012

...not a great story.

This is one of a couple of the stand alone novels that Lisa Scottoline has written since abandoning her series on Philadelphia female lawyers.  In this storyJill is a part-time pediatrician and mother of a teen age daughter, who was divorced three years earlier. She has found a wonderful new relationship with Sam a scientist.   One night her step daughter Abby knocks on their door to tell Jill that her ex husband is dead and Abby suspects murder.  Jill was a loving step mother to Abby and her sister Victoria and immediately wants to help Abby. Jill had wanted to continue a relationship with her step daughters but her ex husband prevented this.  Despite objections from her fiancee Sam, Jill helps Abby investigate the murder of her father.  The plot drags along for the first two thirds of the book where nothing much happens then in the last third events take off and the story has all the elements of a soap opera.  There are car crashes, undercover agents, Wall St. swindlers, deceptive pharmaceutical executives, indecipherable financial schemes and not quite believable coincidences. 

The overriding theme in the story is the extent of a mother’s love for a child  (biological or otherwise) and her willingness to do almost anything to help the child.  Scottoline is good at describing family dynamics in today’s blended families, the balance of work and home responsibilities needed by working mothers and the challenges of parents in relating to children especially teenagers.  There are lots of references to email, facebook and twitter, so the story has an up to date feel to it.   Despite these positives this isn’t a good book.  It screams for better editing, there is too much repetition we are told over and over that Jill loves her step children as much as her biological child – enough already we get it!

Scottoline has been a favorite Philadelphia writer for me.  She writes a weekly column for the Philadelphia Inquirer - Chick Wit that is both funny and insightful.  Her earlier novels dealt with a group of Philadelphia female lawyers (Scottoline was a Philly lawyer before she went full time to writing) that were peopled with great characters that were quintessentially Philly.  The legal dramas were realistic and fast paced.  Please bring back that series with Bennie Rosato, Mary DiNunzio and the rest of that great gang!
I read an advanced reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.

1 comment:

Zibilee said...

Oh, I am sorry to hear that this one was so heavy-handed! I do have one of her standalone books here on my shelf, but haven't had the chance to read it yet. It sounds like I might be better off looking for the lawyer books. Thanks for the very candid and thoughtful review today. I have to admit that I probably won't be reading this one anytime soon, but I do appreciate having heard your thoughts.