Book Reviews: Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline and Hollywood Hills by Joseph Wambaugh

Think Twice
Lisa Scottoline
St. Martin’s Press, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-38076-2
Trade Paperback

First there was Cain and Abel.   In this novel we have Bennie Rosato and her twin sister, Alice Connelly (they were separated at birth and raised by different mothers).  Bennie grows up to be a highly successful Philadelphia lawyer, heading her own firm, while Alice turns out evil.

Alice has drugged Bennie, burying her alive, and then impersonates her in an attempt to transfer all of Bennie’s money out of the country and flee.  She convinces everyone, including the bank, that she is Bennie, and succeeds in transferring the funds to an offshore institution. Meanwhile, Bennie breaks through the box in which she is buried, but runs into all kinds of obstacles when she is believed to be Alice.

In the end, the real question asked and, perhaps, answered is: is the nature of evil born in us or is it in the genes?  While the main plot is charged to a high degree, the tale is interspersed with a bit of old-fashioned schmaltz, including the caricature of an  Italian immigrant family, up and down love lives of a couple of characters, the emotional permutations of a candidate for a law partnership, and even an Italian witch.  Of course, Lisa Scottoline‘s writing is smooth and forceful, so the reader is carried along for an enjoyable read.

Recommended.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, January 2011.

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Hollywood Hills
Joseph Wambaugh
Little, Brown, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-316-12950-3
Hardcover

The patented Wambaugh formula continues to enthrall the reader, even after reaching the Twenty-book mark.  Most of the familiar characters from the preceding 19 books are present again, along with some new ones, and the accustomed anecdotes illustrating the madness that befalls the LAPD cops remain at the high level of the author’s past performances.

The plot running through the novel to give it the feel of a police procedural involves an art scam which is doomed from the beginning, but allows Wambaugh to interweave four characters into the daily activities of the crime-fighting LAPD warriors.

Written at the sophisticated level of past novels in the series, Wambaugh introduces some deeply human and emotional situations to provide a touching pathos, raising the question in at least my mind as to whether or not he is planning to end the highly successful run of this series.  At least we have this one to enjoy, and it is recommended.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, February 2011.

One thought on “Book Reviews: Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline and Hollywood Hills by Joseph Wambaugh

  1. excellent book reviews! ‘Think twice’ by Lisa Scottoline seems to be a very captivating and fascinating book! Two years ago, I read a similar police novel written by Elizabeth K Lee. This book is an enjoyable read and I warmly recommend it!

    Like

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