Acts of Malice
by Perri O'Shaughnessy
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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Tragedy has occurred in Lake Tahoe. Jim and Alex Strong, brothers of the famous Paradise Ski Resort family, set out for an impromptu competitive ski raceonly Jim came back alive.

According to the coroner, what looked like an accident was actually a homicide. Jim, being the top suspect, hires Nina Reilly to defend him. With so many other suspects and possible motives, the prosecution has a weak case against Jim.

Nina believes her client is innocent, but can't get one nagging thought off her mind: Why is Jim's family turning against him?

In Acts of Malice, we follow Nina Reilly as she tries to get to the bottom of this mystery. On top of that, she rekindles an old flame with Collier Hallowell. Did I forget to mention that he's the prosecutor in the Jim Strong case?

Nina practices law with a good heart. She believes in her work. She believes in Jim Strong as well. Unfortunately, when she finds the truth about Alex Strong's death, that devotion may cost Nina her life.

Acts of Malice is the fifth Nina Reilly novel. Pamela and Mary O'Shaughnessy have co-authored the series under the pen name Perri O'Shaughnessy. The book was a  main selection of the Mystery Guild when it was released and rightfully so. O'Shaughnessy writes a great story. The Lake Tahoe setting is fun. Snowy weather and perilous ski slopes add to the suspense.

Nina Reilly is a refreshing lead character. She's smart, pretty and kind, but not too extreme. As an avid reader, I grow tired of the generic superwoman-type characters in contemporary novels. What a relief to read about a lady whose life is actually believable.

The pacing of this story is good. Nina's love life ties nicely to the plot. (Do you hear me, Sandra Brown? Skip the random sex scenes and take a note from O'Shaughnessy. This is how it's done.)

Suspense? It's here, too, from the first chapter to the last. Do yourself a favor and fight the urge to read the last page. Let the ending stun you as it did me.

The single con in this book is small but worth noting. Generally in a series, the author provides background information on earlier events in case someone hasn't read all the books. O'Shaughnessy didn't do that here. She offers bit and pieces of Nina's past. I had some trouble gauging the significance of the men in Nina's life. Nevertheless, Acts of Malice is still quite easy to follow.

This is the first book I have read by O'Shaughnessy and I assure you it won't be the last. I intend to read all the Nina Reilly books and anxiously await future installments of the series.

Read all the books in the Nina Reilly legal series:

1. Motion to Suppress

2. Invasion of Privacy

3. Obstruction of Justice

4. Breach of Promise

5. Acts of Malice

6. Move to Strike

7. Writ of Execution

8. Unfit to Practice

9. Presumption of Death

10. Unlucky in Law
The sisters O'Shaughnessy have a great web site that includes photos from Nina's Lake Tahoe life.