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Unfit to Practice Hardcover – July 30, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Was there something more criminal than grand theft auto involved in the disappearance of Nina Reilly's truck--and the legal files locked inside it? When confidential information from those files that could endanger Nina's clients and destroy her reputation surfaces, it begins to look as though someone wants to put the feisty Lake Tahoe attorney out of business. There's no shortage of suspects, including a policewoman who blames Nina for short-circuiting her promotion, a client with a guilty secret who's convinced it was Nina's negligence that lost his custody case, and a rival attorney who's seething over all the high-profile clients he's lost because of Nina's growing prominence. With help from her ex-husband, a legal malpractice specialist, and her lover, who's also her investigator, Reilly races the clock to get to the bottom of the smear campaign and save her license to practice in this smart, sexy thriller that makes the most of the author's gifts of clever plotting, characterization, and dramatic tension. Reilly, a single mom whose personal life is as chaotic as her career, is a series heroine who gets more interesting with every new adventure. The conclusion of this one, the author's eighth, finds Reilly pointed in a new direction with plenty of interesting possibilities for the future. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

Penned by sisters Pamela and Mary O'Shaughnessy, this eighth novel to feature South Lake Tahoe attorney Nina Reilly puts the lawyer in the defendant's chair. Ever since she was a little girl, Nina has believed that rules are what people use to make sense of the world and that law is a way of enforcing the rules to keep the world sane. But when her truck is stolen, along with her three most sensitive case files, her sane world turns topsy-turvy. In the wrong hands, those files could compromise a client's chance at fair visitation rights, affect a second client's insurance claim and put two girls at risk from the murderer whose crime they witnessed. Suddenly, Nina finds herself facing possible disbarment as she's brought up on disciplinary charges before the California State Bar Court. Current boyfriend Paul and ex-husband Jack try to help Nina figure out who stole the files and, more importantly, who is trying to destroy her life. The initial setup of Nina's predicament is taut as a wire, but the story bogs down in court, where much of the testimony, while realistic, is filler: a space-occupying rehash of what the reader already knows. As for the climax, it's so hokey that the dialogue reads like an old Batman episode. Chances are, though, since this is just a first offense, series fans will release this effort on its own recognizance in the hopes that the next case will be a winner.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; 1st edition (July 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385334842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385334846
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,819,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Here's a star sister act that plays not at your neighborhood theater but at the local bookstore. To date the sisters O'Shaughnessy, Pamela (a Harvard Law School graduate) and Mary (a former editor), have co-authored seven popular legal thrillers. Two of their fast-paced dramas were "Writ of Execution" and "Malice." Brace yourselves for a suspenseful ride in "Unfit To Practice."

Facing the worst fear of any attorney, Nina Reilly is looking at a disciplinary hearing before the California State Bar Court and possible disbarment. Lawyer Reilly's unlocked truck, which held pertinent case files and revealing notes she had taken, is stolen. That's not the worst case scenario: soon, information that could only be found in her notes surfaces, and is revealed in ways that are most damaging to her client.
So, Reilly finds herself before the State Bar in a battle for her license. You can tell she's in dire straits when she turns to her ex-husband to lead her defense. He and her off/on boyfriend PI Paul van Wagoner don't see eye to eye nor do they try.
Malice becomes murder in this drama that shifts from tension filled courtroom to the secret recesses of a woman's heart.
- Gail Cooke
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L. Quido VINE VOICE on September 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Perri O'Shaughnessy, the entertaining sister team of writers, serve up an especially interesting plot for their Lake Tahoe lawyer-heroine, Nina Reilly. Nina's confronted with a situation that could ruin her for life, and three client cases are commingled with her own downfall, when the client files are stolen.
Nina's love life with her investigator is more settled in this outing, although briefly challenged by her ex-husband. Her three clients are diverse, and the reaction and chain events set off by the loss of the files follow widely divergent paths, as well. It's obvious that Nina is someone's target, but who is her enemy?
4 stars due to the complex and interesting plot, and the unique ending, which leaves the reader guessing what direction the series will take in the future. Not nearly as good in characterization or plot fulfillment as previous Nina Reilly episodes, but the O'Shaughnessy novels are heads and shoulders above most courtroom fiction, and I eagerly await the next one!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "pattyq2002" on August 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I usually relish the chance to read a new Perri O'Shaughnessy.
I thought the main plot line was somewhat unbelievable. If Nina is such a hot shot lawyer, and of course we know she is from the previous books, she would not leave her briefcase containing such
important files, in her car overnight.
The female police officer and the female prosecuting attorney are just totally unbelievable in their language and approach to Nina. Very stereotypical, we don't like beautiful smart women.<P...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Kaplan on February 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Unfit to Practice" is either a bold and brilliant move by the O'Shaughnessy sisters to keep their Nina Reilly series alive, or a rush-to-deadline departure from the series' usual content. I think it must be the former.
Nina, the stubborn, beautiful, competent and courageous Lake Tahoe attorney who is central to every book, is a very different woman as this one begins. First of all, she is inexplicably in love with Paul, the private eye who helps her with each case, and who has been her on-again, off-again lover as Nina's mood and marital circumstances dictate. In the last book, "Writ of Execution," they were on again. But nothing prepared this reader for the romantic, almost desperate intensity with which Nina now loves Paul. Where did this come from? For those of us who have been rooting for Paul all along, it's a happy circumstance, but the one-sentence explanation for this turn of events doesn't quite make it.
The plot, however, is a good one. Nina finds herself on the other side of the law as she is called before the California State Bar in a disciplinary action that could cost her everything she holds dear. One careless but very human action--leaving her keys behind in the courtroom--has led to a series of nightmarish disasters. Her car is stolen, and so are the three highly confidential client files she carelessly left in the back seat. Each of the files contains materials that could prove extremely damaging to Nina's clients, and as the plot unfolds, that's exactly what happens.
Struggling to clear her good name, hold on to her career, and also undo the terrible damage done to her clients, Nina enlists not only the help of the stalwart Paul, but also her ex-husband Jack, whom we've heard about but never met.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Rizzo on September 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For the reader who's followed Nina Reilly through her trials (pun intended) and adversities in the previous seven books, this eighth installment is a must read. However, it's a hinge on Nina's character arc, and as such, it's not a book to win her new fans. It's a book to accomplish another end altogether.
In this story, Nina is enduring the ultimate (for a lawyer) judicial ironical experience: standing trial herself. Of course, our resident Girl Scout committed no felonious act (although she's not so pure as to have avoided FLIRTING with the law a time or two), but in this chronicle, the State of California reviews Nina's right to retain her license in the face of the disappearance of some highly confidential and sensitive client files.
The disappearance of the files isn't enough for a problem in and of itself, but confidential information suddenly materializes publically in ways that harm her clients' welfare... information that could have come only from those missing files. An insidious, unknown "someone" is out to damage Nina's reputation and ultimately destroy her career.
For help, Nina turns to private investigator and sometime-lover Paul van Wagoner, and he in turn engages for her defense his former best friend, her own ex-husband Jack (a state bar attorney). For other means of support, Nina relies on the familiar figures of Sandy Whitefeather, her legal assistant; Sandy's son Wish, a private invesigator in training; and her brother and sister-in-law.
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