Dirty Blonde, by Lisa Scottoline, is a stand-alone legal thriller about rookie Federal District Court Judge Cate Fante. At the beginning of this novel, Judge Fante sat on her very first, big-time, high profile case: an intellectual property case in which the plaintiff (the person suing) argued that the defendant had stolen an idea for a television show from him, made lots of money and did not pay him for that idea. Richard Marz, the plaintiff, was hopeful that he would get something out of the case. Art Simone, the director of [email protected], the show that Marz claimed was his idea, was hopeful that the case would be dismissed by Judge Fante. The case, as Simone hoped, was dismissed by Judge Fante, and, a day later, Simone is found dead outside of the swanky restaurant where he had gone to celebrate with his attorney. The authorities believed that Marz was the chief suspect and that Judge Fante is the next victim. This attention draws much attention to Judge Fante’s professional and personal, clandestine and yes, “dirty,” activities, much to her chagrin and the chagrin of the other judges on the bench.
This novel was a page-turner, but not because it is high-quality prose! I desperately wanted to find out who the real killer was in this novel. The characters were poorly developed and shallow and were not much motivation to continue reading the novel. Oftentimes, the characters acted in ways that were unbelievable, unconvincing and not in line with what I believed that they should have done. For instance, one of the investigating officers keeps a file of Judge Fante’s clandestine activities and promised her never to release it to a superior officer. I think that such an action is highly unethical, even where well-intentioned, and that any police officer that did that could lose his job. Any lawyer that did that without reporting it to the professional conduct committee could very well lose their license to practice law.
Furthermore, Ms. Scottoline, although she was able to keep me hooked until the very end, did very little as far as explaining Judge Fante’s seedy nighttime behavior. Ms. Scottoline failed to answer the question: Why does Judge Fante engage in this type of behavior when she seemingly had everything? Her failure to answer this question left me feeling unsatisfied at the end of the novel, even though I found out who the “real” killer was.
All that said, if you are looking for an action-packed, fast moving thriller that does not require much thought, this book is for you. This book is better suited for the beach than a college.