Fans who have been eagerly awaiting the next installment in the Nina Reilly series won't be disappointed by Perri O'Shaughnessy's latest, Breach of Promise. The creator of Invasion of Privacy and Obstruction of Justice has crafted a tale of love and murder gone awry in the material age.
Palimony--birds do it, bees do it, Liberace's heirs do it, and so do Mike and Lindy Markov. When Mike falls for Rachel, a young and beautiful vice president at Markov Enterprises, he tells Lindy (his companion and business partner of many years) that their relationship is over, leaving her, in effect, to go soak her head in one of the Markov Super Spas they've invented and sold to countless arthritics. Desperate to retain her fair share of their $250 million fortune, Lindy hires Nina to pursue a palimony suit against Mike, tempting her with an enormous percentage if they win their case.
O'Shaughnessy thus leads into the deceptively simple, deeply disturbing philosophical conundrum around which she weaves her tale of intrigue: What would you--what would anyone--do for money? As Nina pursues her case, O'Shaughnessy tests the boundaries of traditional courtroom-drama fiction by playing with the conventions of narrative form, but she remains true to the genre's ethic of devious surprises and fast-paced action.
Granted, Nina is a lawyer rather than a private investigator, and her smooth style bears little resemblance to, say, the sardonic goofiness of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone, but she may strike a chord with fans of Sara Paretsky's Chicago sleuth, V.I. Warshawski. Both Nina and V.I. cling stubbornly to their independence and sense of fairness as they wage battle against institutionalized forces of greed; and both O'Shaughnessy and Paretsky use engaging characters, tight plotting, and clever dialogue to lure their readers into wrestling with legal and moral dilemmas. --Kelly Flynn