Who’s your favorite author? Do you have more than one? There are only two authors that I “just can’t wait for” when it comes to their next books. One is John Grisham; the other is Lisa Scottoline. I haven’t read every Grisham novel, but I’ve read all 16 of Scottoline’s (I haven’t read it yet, but I have Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, a collection of her essays). If I had to pick a favorite between the two, I couldn’t. Although they both write about lawyers, and there are some similarities in how they tackle their subjects, they are different enough to make a choice impossible.
Think Twice is Lisa Scottoline’s latest novel, and it is so engaging that I couldn’t help but read it in one sitting. I was actually apprehensive about this book because it brought back attorney Bennie Rosato’s evil twin sister, Alice Connelly. I was thinking, “How much mileage can you get from the old evil twin device?” Well, the answer is plenty!
Among Bennie’s employees is Mary DiNunzio, another Italian-American from South Philadelphia. Mary’s family has provided quite a bit of material in previous novels, and they are dependable sources of humor and pathos. Her parents are very old country, and I can identify with many of the situations she experiences, having grown up in an Italian-American family (ditto Lisa Scottoline, which is why she so faithfully depicts the family and neighborhood dynamics in her books).
Early in Think Twice, Bennie finds herself drugged and buried alive at the hands of her sister who intends on impersonating Bennie and taking over her life (or, more specifically, her bank accounts). The DiNunzio’s have a visitor; Fiorella is a strega whose “powers” are allegedly stronger than Mary’s mother’s (if you’ve ever been the recipient of the evil eye, you understand). Fiorella is also a septuagenarian who is very well preserved, and is looking for her next husband.
Complicating all of these are Mary and boyfriend Anthony’s search for a home they can share, the return of Bennie’s ex, Grady, and the question of a partnership for Mary. Scottoline flawlessly interweaves all these stories into a relentlessly gripping novel that grapples with notions of good and evil relevant to the reader as well as to the characters. Incorporating a solid sense of place, she brings Philadelphia and environs to life, right down to local colloquialisms (“I know, right?”).
I admit there are elements in Think Twice that are maybe a little too far-fetched, and the ending a little too pat (though emotionally satisfying), but still feel that it was a great read and highly recommend it.
Having thoroughly immersed myself in Think Twice, I again find myself anticipating Lisa Scottoline’s next work. Lucky for me, a new Grisham hits the streets next month.
Bottom Line: Would I buy Think Twice? I did, and I’m glad!