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on July 12, 2005
I have been a fan of these authors since the beginning. Some books are better than others, and at the start I thought this book was going to be one of the very best. The authors' prose style has improved, Nina has a full and realistic life (not always the case in the past, where plot seemed to push character), the story is intriguing, and the other viewpoint character - one of the witnesses to the crime - is fascinating. I was engrossed in the story all along, but by the end I was scratching my head, feeling cheated. The motivations and actions of the main culprits (trying not to give too much away here) are totally without foundation or logic. That ruined the story for me. I recommended the book to a couple of friends while I was reading it, and I've had to go back and tell them, "maybe not." Still, if you don't think about logic or motivation but just go along for the ride, it's a fine ride.
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on February 12, 2007
This latest installment in the Nina Reilly series was close to a complete disappointment to me. I've read all the previous novels, following Nina through two marriages and one prolonged affair, and have always enjoyed the tales, even the one which focused on the gambling casinos and seemed to go a bit too far off-tangent. But this one was nearly incomprehensible to the average reader. Other reviewers have criticized it for the same reason: the mathematical mumbo-jumbo was entirely too complex (and definitely off-tangent)to be enjoyable reading. If I'd wanted to study a math textbook, I'd have bought one. While a writer needs to introduce sub-plot and the sisters here have seemed to do a lot of research, it doesn't always make for a good read. I'm a fan of the TV show, Numb3rs, which easily makes math look interesting---this book does not. It was a disappointment and a real drag at times. Nina, too, is starting to get on my nerves---she cannot commit in any personal relationship, and she vacilates back and forth between being bright and being fairly stupid in her cases. Flawed heroines are all well and good, but growth is essential. Let's pick up the pace, or this series is going to languish.
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on July 21, 2005
There are various plot/story lines in this book. Some were very interesting, others only so-so. There was a lot of information about very high level math involving prime numbers. I admit that I skipped over some of the technical details, but I also did learn a few things. Most of the story kept my interest, but there was a big let down in the plot.

Not to give anything away, but one person's 'reason' for committing a particular crime was just ludicrous. It made no sense at all and really detracted from the overall story. If the O'Shaughnessys could have made the motive more understandable and realistic, it would have helped the story in general. I am glad that Nina returned to Tahoe, but she needs to stay put for a while. There has been too much moving, changing of partners and jobs, etc. Settle down, girl.

This was an OK book, but I know the O'Shaughnessy girls can do much better.
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on August 26, 2006
* Spoilers *

Sorry, but besides the improbable plot, this book is so full of legal and other bloopers it's ruined. The legal bloopers are even more bewildering in a book written by a supposed graduate of Harvard Law School.

The book revolves around a man who doesn't want it to be discovered that he committed a robbery, and so he hangs around the robbery scene, stalks victims who haven't come forward yet, stalks the attorney in a related wrongful death case, tries to beat a confession out of a suspected perpetrator of the murder which happened at the same time, and kills several people, including two in Germany -- all of this from someone who just wants to lay low and avoid discovery.

The legal bloopers are many. A man, Dave Hanna, has a wrongful death suit for the shooting death of his wife at a motel. Virtually without exception, wrongful death cases are taken by plaintiffs' attorneys on a contingency basis. Yet, Dave's prior attorney, and current attorney Nina (heroine of the book), both charge him on an hourly basis, with no explanation of why they're taking this unusual step.

Attorney fees are NOT recoverable by the defendant if a wrongful death case is lost. Yet the defendant seeks attorney fees, and Nina fails to point out such a claim cannot be brought under California law. In fact, she warns Dave that they may succeed in their claim.

Nina says the court MAY dismiss the case prior to two years for failure to prosecute or serve a defendant, and that the court MUST dismiss for failure to prosecute or serve a defendant after two years. Both statements are plainly incorrect under the very California statute cited by the authors in the book (Civ. Proc. 583.420).

When Dave's life is in danger, Nina says, "It's a surefire way to end a lawsuit. Dispose of the plaintiff." Sorry, not true. The lawsuit continues and the estate collects.

Nina tells the court she wants to dismiss her case against "James Bova as an individual and as an insured of his insurance company." You don't sue someone "as an insured of his insurance company."

Nina tells the decedent's brother that he has a cause of action for wrongful death. That's not true in California where, as here, there is a surviving spouse.

It's unlikely a process server would tell someone he just served, "you should consult an attorney right away."

A proposed contract offer is for "Two million for you, properly sheltered from income tax...." A business can't "shelter" a payee from income tax. The only way to pay someone two million dollars, for services, tax-free, is to pay enough so that the net after tax is two million. (Merely paying the tax for them doesn't work, since the tax paid -itself- is income, and taxable.)

A major issue in the book is how many shots were fired during the robbery at the motel, and where the bullets went. On the stand, the genius mathematician mentally "estimates" the distance to the motel balcony by the Pythagorean theorem as 50.99 feet -- that's accuracy within 3 millimeters!!

We first read that the motel clerk, who was next-door, "heard the shots -- two quick shots" and then ran toward the motel office. No mention of her hearing a third shot.

Dave Hanna's wife Sarah was shot, on a motel balcony, and we're told that there was no gun recovered, but "they have the casings and the two bullets, including the one recovered from Sarah Hanna's body." Another witness later states, "The gunman fired one warning shot, and I think the second happened when Elliott reached him." It turns out later that the first two shots were fired up at an 80 degree angle, away from Sarah on the balcony, but it's not mentioned that one of the bullets recovered by the police was aimed directly away from Sarah. That would have been obvious at the time and is simply misleading to not include it early on.

Suddenly, half-way through the book, with no witness or evidence of a third shot, Nina asks a witness, "What about the third shot?" The witness miraculously remembers, "The final shot? Yes, we heard one more shot while we were running away." Where did THAT come from? But the book now hinges on the new third shot.

The same man who had two shots fired toward him now testifies, "'I was running for my room when I heard the third shot.' 'The police report doesn't mention any third shot. Where were you for the first two shots?' 'Going toward him.... There were three shots, I know that much. I don't care what the police reports say.'"

It turns out the third bullet killed Sarah, and THAT bullet was recovered, but Nina's investigator says, "Too bad the police couldn't find the third bullet."

The authors are just clueless when it comes to how handguns work -- something crime thriller authors should know a LITTLE about at least. Examination of the ammunition casings found at the scene would indicate the gun was an auto-loading pistol, both from the type of rim on the casing, and the fact that they were ejected. Yet Nina finds a witness who picked up the gun at the scene and kept it, which gun is identified by the authors as "a blue-steel revolver." But wait -- the authors just said that the bullet casings were recovered at the scene, and bullet casings are ejected from an auto-loading pistol, not a revolver. Later on a police sergeant identifies the gun as a "six-shooter" and asks the evidence technician how many rounds are left "in the chamber." A six-shot revolver has six chambers. If a pistol has one chamber, it's not a revolver. A chamber only holds one round at a time.

In describing the gun used in Germany, Nina says, "The German police have it. They tell me it was probably a Sig, a target pistol, a single-action semi-auto." This is contradictory. A single-action gun is one in which pulling the trigger ONLY fires the round and does not move the action. A semi-auto is a gun in which pulling the trigger fires the round AND prepares another round for firing by loading it into the chamber. This is like saying the German police found a car which was an automatic with a manual transmission.

The authors should be ashamed to sell this book. This is a merely a first draft of what might be an acceptable novel if the bloopers and the illogical bit about the robber trying to maintain a low profile while going on a killing spree were fixed. Not to mention that the college kids probably went gambling at Laughlin, Nevada, instead of "Loughlin, Nevada."
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on August 28, 2005
I loved the math content and an impressed by the authors' grasp of it. Fascinating. BUT, several absolutely implausible situations. Witness to a robbery two years ago returns for the first time to Tahoe, and the robber just happens to spot him at a Casino. Sandy makes a last minute flight to Germany, and four hours after arrival goes to interview two witnesss to the robbery. The robber is able to make a reservation, get there ahead of her, buy an illegal gun, find out where the interview is to take place, find a second story window overlooking interview, do his mischief, get away, flies back home. Really? These are only two of the stretch-your-credulity sequences that happen. Pretty good plot, good math content, and if you can dismiss any interest in logic, enjoy the book.
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on July 19, 2006
I am a big fan of the Nina Reilly series; however, this one was not up to par. Overkill(pun intended) on both the math theory and the number of witnesses killed with our heroine standing right next to them. Dialogue and character development also not as stellar as we've grown to expect with this author(s)----some of it unfortunately sounded like a romance novel (albeit one of the better ones). Hopefully, next one will be up to the standard---haven't given up, but was disappointed!
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on October 16, 2005
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on July 30, 2005
Attorney Nina Reilly has re-opened her law office in Lake Tahoe, after several months of living and working in Monterey. Her lover and private investigator Paul von Waggoner are out of her life, and as "Case of Lies" opens, Nina seems to be embracing her life and work in Lake Tahoe.

Nina's masseusse asks her to take on a wrongful death case involving her Aunt Sarah, who was an innocent bystander shot in a robbery at a local motel, the Ace High. It's been almost two years since the robbery and murder, and the statue of limitations is almost up on this civil case. The shooter was never apprehended, and Nina grabs onto this mission to find the person who shot Sarah Hanna. A large part of the plotlines revolve around finding the three young robbery victims at the Ace High, in hopes that they can help identify the shooter. Of course, the robbery is much more complicated than it seems at first, and after finding the witnesses, Nina has her hands full getting them to talk to her.

The robbery victims turn out to be grad students at MIT, and one of them is poised on solving one of the great mysteries remaining in the world of mathematics--the factoring of very large numbers. It turns out that this technology is critical to today's Internet security, and the work of the young math genius turn out to be very valuable indeed.

There is a lot of the story devoted to the higher math research. I found this story line quite interesting. I felt that this book was quite a bit stronger than the last several in the Nina Reilly series. I enjoy seeing Nina and her son Bob develop further in each story. Since Nina has severed many of her old ties to the Monterey area, this book stands alone on its own quite well. "Case of Lies" is an intelligent, exciting legal thriller.
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on November 29, 2006
FIRST - Thanks, Frank from Stockton, for your insights. I had picked up about half of your points, but I let them slide. But seeing a compilation really is pretty sobering.

SECOND - I sort-of-agree with the "too much math" comments but I must confess I enjoyed the glimpse into the fringe of math theory. The obsession seemed plausible, or is it? I started reading the Amazon reviews to see if there was any feedback from math fanatics. I will send it to my roommate who majored in math 40 years ago.

THIRD - I was disappointed by the final pages on the math genius. Why would he turn out to be a super hacker who can easily access NSA or other highly secure web sites? His mania was narrowly focused, and (unless I am wrong) the hurdles that would need be overcome go way, way beyond encryption, and mastery of large primes is only one major step of breaking the encryption. And the guy who has lived his life focused at least 99% on theory suddenly becomes a wheeler-dealer, acting exactly as he saw his enemy act, even using the exact same people?

FOURTH - This is a chick book! Ooh, I'm in deep now! Love, passion, regret, children, etc. But I thought it worked OK - I was curious to see how Kurt would be resolved.

STARS - The math that almost everyone else disliked added the fourth star to my rating. Except for the math aspect, it seemed pretty typical of her other books to me - a fairly improbable romp, fairly-well crafted, a page-turner, a tidy ending, and characters that were touching. I will probably read another book or two of theirs.

Hope this helps you decide if it's your cup of tea.
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on July 25, 2007
I was terribly disappointed with this Audio book because of the plot and the reader. Laurel Merlington was a bad choice to read the book she can only do young American women accents. She butchered most of the male voices, the other older woman lawyer and all the foreign accents. It's clear she has never heard a German speak. The German girl's accent was annoyingly wrong.

As for the plot, from the pointless foray into mathematics to the unlikely happenings; e.g. where did this unsophisticated, rather stupid shooter get money from to go to Germany and find the witnesses? Why wasn't Nina Reilly shot at the masseuse's parlor? Why would the shooter hang around a Lake Tahoe?

Much of the book does not make sense. I am sorry I bought it.
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