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Unlucky in Law (Nina Reilly) (2004)

by Perri O'Shaughnessy

Series: Nina Reilly (10)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
367652,255 (3.47)3
Nina Reilly takes on the most dangerous and difficult case of her career in New York Times bestselling author Perri O'Shaughnessy's latest thriller. An ingenious blend of forensic science, history, and gripping suspense, Unlucky in Law pits the tough but compassionate attorney against the most unbeatable adversary of all: the law. Nina has just received a last-minute call from her old boss and mentor in Monterey County, California, where she is enjoying the breathtaking scenery and spending time with her boyfriend, P.I. Paul van Wagoner. Klaus Pohlmann is in desperate straits and begs Nina to take over a seemingly unwinnable case: A luckless two-time felon named Stefan Wyatt has robbed a grave and made off with the long-buried bones of a Russian émigré. When he is caught and arrested, further devastating evidence found in the grave suggests that Stefan is guilty of a far more deadly crime. A young woman, a classmate of Stefan's, has been killed, and he is accused of her murder. Now, as a result of California's Third Strike law, Wyatt is looking at twenty-five years to life whether he's convicted of grand theft or murder. Either way, he's in big trouble. With her client's blood DNA found in the dead woman's apartment, Nina faces an uphill battle. Suspecting that her hapless client has been set up, Nina brings in a brilliant forensic pathologist who comes up with a startling theory about the case that could rewrite a crucial page of European history. As the evidence mounts against Nina's client, Paul launches his own investigation into the shadowy past of the two-decades-old skeleton. But long-held secrets nearly get him killed and reveal a more insidious evil at work--and an extraordinary story dating back to tsarist Russia and the Romanov court. As Wyatt edges closer to the unluckiest verdict of his young life, Nina makes an astounding discovery that just might save her client--or expose a killer who could bury them all. Brilliantly imagined and compulsively readable, Unlucky in Law is a beguiling mix of wrenching drama and gripping action. And it is Perri O'Shaughnessy's most accomplished novel to date.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
BOTTOM-LINE:
Good story with the mentor, but the other stuff detracts
.
PLOT OR PREMISE:
Nina Reilly gets a call from her old mentor to sit second-chair on a murder case that started with a grave robbery.
.
WHAT I LIKED:
The story that the client tells is surprisingly plausible...he was hired to rob a grave, which he did. Except when he's caught, the cops go back and check the grave he robbed and find out that there's now a fresh body in it and he's charged with murder. It's a simple twist but there is little doubt through the case that he's not guilty and there is "something else" going on. And just to complicate things, her mentor is basically dumping the case on her, has done almost no prep, is showing early signs of dementia, and the PI he hired did almost no work either. Nina has her hands full just as Paul proposes.
.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
There are two threads running through the story that are less than optimal. First, the premise of the mystery is that the dead body that is stolen is tied to a society of Russian conspiracy theorists who suspect he was tied to the Romanoffs (hey, he's Russian, he must be, right?). This is about the fourth book I've read in the last two years that threw in a Romanoff angle, and it's not handled that well, although most don't anyway. Second, the marriage proposal from Paul leads to a bunch of emotional drama and angst, and detracts heavily from the story. It reads more like a bad romance novel than a mystery.
.
DISCLOSURE:
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the authors, nor do I follow them on social media. ( )
  polywogg | Apr 19, 2019 |
Entertaining. I usually do not read books out of order. This is number 10 of the Nina Reilly series. I think it is impressive that reading previous books was not necessary to understand the characters. However, I wonder if I read the 9 other books if there would be a lot of repeated information, maybe making it somewhat boring. I got this book from my mother. I checked the library for other books from this author. They had some, but not the first book in the series. May try to track it down. 328 members; 3.5 average rating; 2/26/2018 ( )
  mainrun | Mar 16, 2018 |
ereader ebook
  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
Courtroom drama, rich in detail. A thoroughly enjoyable read. ( )
  bobaloo624u | Jul 26, 2012 |
Good in parts.

This review is from: Unlucky in Law (Nina Reilly) (Audio CD)
My feelings towards this book oscillated as I read it. I'm not a fan of courtroom narratives and found the beginning quite dull as we spent much of our time in the court. As things heated up, with more activity out in the real world, so did my enthusiasm. Unfortunately I was disappointed with the end which fell a bit flat, so only three stars overall.

(Please excuse spelling errors as I listened to the unabridged audiobook and so may have some names wrong.)
Nina Reilly is a likeable lawyer, efficient and determined. Her client, Stephan Wyatt, has been arrested for digging up the bones of a dead Russian, Constantin Zhukovsky, for $1,000. Stephan is the 'Unlucky' character of the title, as he discovered a dead body in the soil above the coffin and is subsequently arrested for the murder of Zhukovsky's daughter, Christina. Nina is defending him with little background research as the case has not been adequately prepared before her arrival (annoying/rather unbelievable). Her boyfriend, Paul, is a private investigator who works for the same firm and he helps unravel the explanation for Christina's death.

The story also centres around death of the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, and his family nearly 100 years earlier. What happened to the two family members who were not accounted for at the time? This is an era that I had been intending to look into and so I found this aspect of the narrative fascinating.

Well read by Laural Merlington, I'm glad I listened to this rather than reading it. Recommended as an audiobook, reservations as a straight read. ( )
  DubaiReader | Oct 17, 2011 |
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In memory of Ben McGovern and dedicated to all the other children still fighting blood-related cancers They deserve a cure
And for Jane Fuller of Owego, New York
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Her friends called their fathers "Dad" or "Daddy," but he wanted Christina and her little brother to call him Papa because he had called his father Papa.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Nina Reilly takes on the most dangerous and difficult case of her career in New York Times bestselling author Perri O'Shaughnessy's latest thriller. An ingenious blend of forensic science, history, and gripping suspense, Unlucky in Law pits the tough but compassionate attorney against the most unbeatable adversary of all: the law. Nina has just received a last-minute call from her old boss and mentor in Monterey County, California, where she is enjoying the breathtaking scenery and spending time with her boyfriend, P.I. Paul van Wagoner. Klaus Pohlmann is in desperate straits and begs Nina to take over a seemingly unwinnable case: A luckless two-time felon named Stefan Wyatt has robbed a grave and made off with the long-buried bones of a Russian émigré. When he is caught and arrested, further devastating evidence found in the grave suggests that Stefan is guilty of a far more deadly crime. A young woman, a classmate of Stefan's, has been killed, and he is accused of her murder. Now, as a result of California's Third Strike law, Wyatt is looking at twenty-five years to life whether he's convicted of grand theft or murder. Either way, he's in big trouble. With her client's blood DNA found in the dead woman's apartment, Nina faces an uphill battle. Suspecting that her hapless client has been set up, Nina brings in a brilliant forensic pathologist who comes up with a startling theory about the case that could rewrite a crucial page of European history. As the evidence mounts against Nina's client, Paul launches his own investigation into the shadowy past of the two-decades-old skeleton. But long-held secrets nearly get him killed and reveal a more insidious evil at work--and an extraordinary story dating back to tsarist Russia and the Romanov court. As Wyatt edges closer to the unluckiest verdict of his young life, Nina makes an astounding discovery that just might save her client--or expose a killer who could bury them all. Brilliantly imagined and compulsively readable, Unlucky in Law is a beguiling mix of wrenching drama and gripping action. And it is Perri O'Shaughnessy's most accomplished novel to date.

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