Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2015. 424 pages. *****
Not every lawyer gets a second chance, Bennie championed for twelve-year-old Jason Lefkavick when he was sent to a juvenile detention center for a fight in middle school and now she is called upon to defend him in the murder trial of the same bully he fought many years ago. The original case has haunted Bennie ever since Jason's Dad fired her for becoming involved with the Uncle of the boy Jason fought and her failure to free Jason. Jason is claiming a frame up even though he was found covered in blood clutching the murder weapon. Bennie wants to believe him and feels she owes it to him to defend him at the risk of exposing her heartbreak and secrets.
Scottoline has a unique way of weaving fact and fiction to entertain and enthrall her readers. Her inspiration for this novel comes from a true-life scandal that rocked Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Two Pennsylvania judges sentenced thousands of juveniles to a detention center for personal monetary gain. Dubbed the "Kids-for-Cash" scandal, it impacted the lives of many. Lisa decided to tell the story from the point of view of the children and their families. She is masterful in creating her characters and setting. I was fascinated with the details of the scandal as it unfolded and Lisa transported me there into the lives of Jason and Richie. I could see the detention center, feel Jason's fear and the hopelessness of Doreen raising Richie, a bully of a son. Living in the Philadelphia area, there are many familiar places mentioned and it adds to the reality of the story. Once started, it's hard to put this novel down until the very end. Having read Scottoline's other novels, I just knew there was going to be a surprising twist and she never disappoints. I recommend this book and can't wait to see what's next.
Lisa Scottoline is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author of twenty-four novels. She also writes a weekly humor column with her daughter, Francesca Serritella, for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and those stories have been adapted into a series of memoirs. She lives in the Philadelphia area with an array of disobedient pets. Learn more about Lisa at Lisa Scottoline.