Book Title: Dirty Blonde
Author: Lisa Scottoline
From the opening pages of this Scottoline novel, one senses that something is just not right.
Scottoline’s main character in this slightly flawed novel is Judge Cate Fante. Fante, through the personality and demeanor initially revealed to the reader, sits ill with the conservative office of District Court Judge in the US state of Pennsylvania. That a person whose spirit is so free could be elevated to such an office with all of the strongly conservative and establishment attitudes that it demands, is highly unlikely and ultimately unbelievable.
This is not to deny the plausability of Fante’s leading a double life. Nor does it deny how well Scottoline handles her subplot: that the judge’s friendship with a girlfriend of many years causes her to be drawn into the maelstrom created as a consequence of Fante’s compromises.
Even the inevitable romantic diversion in the novel which is irritatingly becoming rather stock in modern action, detective and mystery novels, is handled by Scottoline with subtlety.
One wishes that the author did not feel the need to sacrifice style for plot though and that she had a better understanding of the elements of a correct sentence. “Light blue walls and a window on the right, its blue-patterned curtains drawn.” (page 256), is a sentence fragment and begs to be spared from the full stop just as it is begging to become a mature English sentence.
The above won’t deter readers of the genre nor fans of Lisa Scottoline from approaching this work with enthusiasm. It is a page turner and perhaps that is the main criterion on which it will be universally judged.
Dirty Blonde is published in Australia by Pan Macmillan Australia.