After many years of hard work, Mary DiNunzio has just made partner in her female-owned and operated law firm, and her boyfriend has just proposed. It should be the happiest day of her life. But then a unique new client walks into the office – Allegra, a 13-year-old beekeeper who believes that the wrong man was put away for her older sister’s murder. Mary’s firm steadfastly believes in helping the little guy, so they take Allegra on, despite opposition from her wealthy and powerful parents. In Accused by Lisa Scottoline, Mary must find the true murderer before Allegra’s parents, who want the case closed permanently, shut her down.

Despite its placement on the library shelf as a mystery, this novel is more of a thriller and family drama. It is very light on the traditional mystery novel elements – finding clues, interviewing suspects – as well as in-depth legal details. Its strength is the focus on the character elements, especially between Mary and her colorful, boisterous Italian family. Their shared bond leaps off the page, and the family drama is gripping but light, introduced and resolved with ease by the end of the book. Fortunately, there is no need to read the other ten-or-so entries in this series, as this one works as an entry into the rest of the previous books and as a standalone title. Pick Accused for an easy, light thriller with lots of soap opera drama and a light mystery. You’ll be done with it before you finish your cannoli.

Review by Shannon Wood
Adult Services Librarian
Nordonia Hills Branch Library