Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Everywhere That Mary Went

Title: Everywhere That Mary Went
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Pages: 356

Everywhere That Mary Went is a thriller with just the right mix of mystery and legal drama. Lisa Scottoline firmly establishes a realistic legal setting at the beginning of the novel with a painful-for-characters-involved courtroom scene with a bully for a judge, a smug lawyer for the plaintiffs and our protagonist Mary DiNunzio. Scottoline used this scene to demonstrate to the reader (me) just how talented and determined Mary is to great effect. In just the opening scene I was privvy to Mary's inner thoughts and was able to quickly feel that I could connect with this character. She is a very intelligent woman who is ambitious about succeeding in the legal world both by winning her cases and making partner in her law firm. Yet, Scottoline also showed just how conflicted Mary is about the ruthlessness that is sometimes required to win her firm's cases. She has created a very full and realistic character in Mary.

Her character development for Mary is excellent throughout the novel. As the mystery of who is stalking Mary unfolds, I was able to see Mary as resourceful, strong, scared, confused, suspicious, guilt-ridden, and confident at many different times in the story. The mysterious notes, the strange car following her, and the anonymous phone calls brought so much tension to the story and Scottoline used these things as a means to also explore Mary's thoughts and feelings towards the death of her husband, religion, her career path, and her relationships with those she loves.

While some might consider this novel to be a by-the-numbers legal thriller, I found that there were several elements throughout that makes this novel stand out as a truly enjoyable thriller. I think those who enjoy legal thrillers, quick-paced stories, well-developed characters, and/or mysteries would find this to be a very satisfying read. However, I would hesitate to recommend it to the very conservative readers as it does not shy away from issues such as homosexuality, religious doubt, adult language, violence, and other adult themes that might affect a very conservative reader's enjoyment of the novel. In other words, if a patron says that he or she doesn't want to read anything with a lot of sex, violence, or adult language, then this book is not for them. For everyone else, this book is a sound suggestion.

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