Dirty Blonde

Dirty Blonde

by Lisa Scottoline

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Cate Fante is strong and smart, but when she becomes a federal judge, even she wonders if she can do the job justice. She's in her thirties, so she feels as though she's joining the world's most exclusive retirement village. She worries inwardly that she only looks the part, in a designer suit donned like overpriced armor. After all, a job described in the United States Constitution would intimidate anybody.

But Cate keeps her doubts a secret. And, as it happens, much else. For she leads a dark double life that she hides from everyone, even her best friend.

Then a high-profile case in her courtroom explodes into a shocking murder-suicide, and it blasts her cover wide open. Overnight the tabloids tell her secrets, her boyfriend dumps her, and her new career hangs in tatters. But Cate's troubles are only beginning. An enemy no one anticipated sends her running for her life — embarking on a journey that begins in the mystery of her own childhood, where she first learned to lie. She'll have to fight her way back to the truth, or die trying.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060742911
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/30/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 56,907
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.12(d)

About the Author

Lisa Scottoline is a New York Times bestselling author and serves as president of the Mystery Writers of America. She has won the Edgar Award, as well as many other writing awards. She also writes a Sunday humor column for the Philadelphia Inquirer, titled "Chick Wit," with her daughter, Francesca Serritella. There are thirty million copies of Lisa's books in print, and she has been published in thirty-two countries. She lives in Pennsylvania with an array of disobedient but adorable pets.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Date of Birth:

July 1, 1955

Place of Birth:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1981

Read an Excerpt

Dirty Blonde

By Lisa Scottoline


ISBN: 0-06-074290-9

Chapter One

Six months later, Cate sat in her high-backed chair atop the dais, waiting to start the day's session. The courtroom was packed, and she hid her anticipation behind a professional mask, which was turning out to be a job requirement. The jury trial had taken all last week, but today was the only day that counted, like the final two minutes in a basketball game.

Sixers-Hornets. It was on at the bar last night. Wonder who won.

Cate shifted behind the slippery wall of stacked pleadings in front of her. She hadn't slept well last night and was relying on her concealer, but was otherwise in full costume: synthetic black robes, dark blond hair in a judicial chignon, a swipe of pink gloss on her lips, and neutral makeup on largish, blue eyes. Finally the courtroom deputy flashed Cate a wink.

Showtime. Cate gestured to plaintiff's counsel. "Mr. Temin, let's begin. I assume that plaintiff continues his testimony this morning."

"Yes, Your Honor." Nathan Temin was a roly-poly lawyer with the paunch of a much older man and a dark suit that begged to be ironed, worn with equally unruly black hair. Still, Cate knew better than to judge a trial lawyer by his cover. She had dressed down for court many times. Prada didn't win jury verdicts.

"Excellent." Cate nodded. "Fire when ready."

"Thank you, Your Honor." Temin hustled to the podium with a Bic pen and a legal pad, then pressed down his suit with apudgy hand. He greeted the jury and turned to his client, already rising from counsel table. "Mr. Marz, please take the stand."

Richard Marz walked to the witness stand, and necks craned from the gallery. Reporters scribbled away, and sketch artists switched to their flesh-toned chalk. The Eastern District of Pennsylvania didn't allow cameras in the courtroom, for which Cate thanked God and Chief Judge Sherman.

"Good morning, Your Honor," Marz said in his soft-spoken way, sitting down after he was sworn in. He was barely thirty years old, and his baby-blue eyes showed litigation strain. He smiled tightly, his lips taut as a rubber band, and he ran a finger-rake through muddy-brown curls that sprouted from under a crocheted yarmulke. A dark suit jacket popped open over his white shirt, and his striped tie hung unevenly. Everybody knew that people looked like their dogs, but Cate thought they looked like their lawyers.

"Good morning, Mr. Marz." She smiled at Marz in a professional way, feeling subterranean sympathy for his position. He was claiming that a powerful TV producer had stolen his idea for a series about Philadelphia lawyers and developed it into the cable blockbuster Attorneys@Law. In this battle between David and Goliath, Marz held the slingshot.

At the lectern, Temin tugged the black bud of a microphone down to his height. "Now, Mr. Marz, you testified last week that you had two meetings with Mr. Simone, leading up to the critical meeting. Please remind the jury of what took place at the first meeting, on June 10."

"Objection, Your Honor," said George Hartford, defense counsel. Hartford had gray eyes behind slightly tinted bifocals and was prematurely bald. He had to be about fifty, and stood tall and fit in a slim Italian suit with a yellow silk tie. "Asked and answered. Plaintiff's counsel is wasting the jury's time."

Temin said, "Your Honor, it's appropriate to review this proof because the weekend intervened."

"Overruled." Cate shot both lawyers her sternest look. "Let's not let the objections get out of hand today, boys. Play nice."

"Thank you, Your Honor." Temin nodded, but a cranky Hartford eased back in his chair next to his client, producer Art Simone. Even seated, Simone looked tall and trim, in his prime at a prosperous forty-something. His reddish hair had been shorn fashionably close to his scalp, and his tortoiseshell glasses paired with a caramel-colored silk tie and tan houndstooth suit. If Marz and Temin were the mutts in this dogfight, Simone and Hartford were purebred afghans.

"Mr. Marz," Temin began again, "tell us briefly what happened at the June meeting with Mr. Simone."

"Well, my background is from the DA's office, handling cases concerning computer fraud and Internet crime. I always liked computers." Marz sounded almost apologetic. "But I wanted to be a writer, so I started writing a screenplay for a TV show about four lawyers and how they use computer skills to solve murders. I called it Hard Drive. It was my wife who said, 'Why don't you do something about it?'" Marz smiled at his wife in the front row of the gallery, a sweet-faced brunette wearing a long skirt and sensible shoes. "So I called Art-Mr. Simone-and told him what I was doing and asked if he would meet with me about it, and he agreed to fly out to Philly to take the meeting." Marz turned to the jury in an earnest way. "That's what they call it in L.A., 'taking a meeting.' When they say no, they call it 'taking a hard pass.' A 'soft pass' is a maybe. I thought a soft pass was about sex, but what do I know?"

The jurors chuckled with evident warmth. Nobody loved underdogs like Philly.

Temin asked, "Had you known Mr. Simone, prior?"

"Yes, I knew him from summer camp from when I was, like, ten years old. Camp Willowbark, Unit A. He was my senior counselor, and I looked up to him like a big brother. I heard he was doing TV in Hollywood, so I hoped he'd help me out."

"And what happened at the meeting, briefly?"

"We met at Le Bec Fin and I told him all the details about my idea and asked him would he consider it for his production company. The lead lawyer in my series is a former detective, an Italian guy from South Philly who dresses great and is, like, a tie freak-"

"You needn't repeat the details," Temin interjected, preempting Hartford's objection.

"Okay, right, sorry. All that's important is that the four lawyers I told Mr. Simone about ended up being exactly like the four lawyers on Attorneys@Law."

"Objection, opinion!" Hartford said, and Cate waved him off.

"Overruled. The jury knows it's his opinion....


Excerpted from Dirty Blonde by Lisa Scottoline Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Dirty Blonde 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 90 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lisa Scottoline is by now a well known commodity. Her women have, hitherto, been bright, attractive and starkly consumerist. Good people but obsessed with the things that are the tokens of success. This novel marks a move in a more human and humane direction. Her judge finds herself in a situation requiring a ruling according to law not justice which becomes tangled with the judges private life. Friends and associates also become involved (pay close attention to cell phones)and attitudes clash and shift. While deep motivations -childhood, friendship, family- make sense, there are also some unrealistic bits. The conclusion is somewhat scurried after the lingering development, but this is a real improvement over ealier works. One little thing, I really could do without the expression :aargh" regularly appearing throughout...
lydie More than 1 year ago
i don't usually like abridged books because i think you lose character development. i like lisa scottaline and couldn't find this audio unabridged.i was not disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was good but not one of my favorites by this author, whom I love. Still a decent read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been an avid fan of Lisa Scottoline, have read each and every one of her books and never failed to be satisfied. However, in Dirty Blond, I was disappointed enough to miss Bennie, Mary and Judy and their usual antics to stop reading the book halfway through. I find this book difficult to retain my attention and found my mind trying to relate to Lisa's new Cate Fante. Bring back the old pals......please!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so poorly written, I'm absolutely stunned, amazed that Scottoline is a published writer. Sentence construction is so dreadful that anyone who loves to read will never get passed the unending flaws to understand the story.
25jump More than 1 year ago
Sometimes we can hide it other times not. When you are in a visible position you need to watch yourself and who your "friends" are. As I read this book, I kept thinking if it were me I would be in deep dodo. It was a great read and could not put it down.
leonardevens More than 1 year ago
More for us Scottoline addicts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book. I thought it was very good.
WhidbeyIslandMystery More than 1 year ago
Not the best Scottoline, but still worth a read. Sometimes the pace becomes tedious, bound with TMI.
MaDonnaLA More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time staying focused on the story. Just couldn't get into the read. It never really held my interest. It wasn't as good as Devil's Corner which was a great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I never seem to find the book that is hard to put down, until I began reading this. I look forward to reading more books by Lisa Scottoline.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Lisa Scottoline's books. They contain drama, suspense and humor. I found Dirty Blonde to be a little darker in subject matter than some of her other books, but I loved it.
hound48 More than 1 year ago
the story moves quickly and is fairly engaging. however, the characters are not developed with a lot of depth and the storyline gets a little hard to believe.

some interesting real life touches on a mysterious town in Pennsylavania and a parent raising a child with autism.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cate Fante is young, beautiful and has lots of money, one would think she has it all. But wait! She gets appointed as a federal judge, a very good and rewarding job. Now she really does have it all. Or does she? There is just something a bit off in Cate's head, because she apparently can't believe she deserves her success, because this blonde has a dirty little habit. She sneaks off to sleazy bars, meets sleazy men and has sleazy sex. Then one of her first cases results in a murder and a suicide and this causes the dirty blonde's secrets to come to light. She's suspended from the bench and all of a sudden she is a woman on the run, because the man she ruled against in that fateful case seems bent on revenge in this very fast paced stand alone thriller by Lisa Scottoline. I think it was very brave of Ms. Scottoline to venture away from her tried and true formula for success and abandon the women of the all-female Philadelphia law firm Rosato and Associates and try something new, but boy did she hit paydirt when she did. This book will reach right out, grab you, tie you down and keep your eyes glued to the pages as your fingers keep 'em turning. Wow, that's what I have to say about this book. Keep them coming, Lisa Scottoline.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Thirteen may be an unlucky number for some, but certainly not for Lisa Scottoline. Already entrenched as one of the most popular authors of legal thrillers, this Edgar winning author scores again with her thirteenth release following on the heels of Devil's Corner (2005). We open with a scene of celebration. Attractive thirty-something Cate Fante has just been appointed a Federal Judge. Clad in a Chanel suit 'donned like overpriced armor,' she accepts accolades from her peers at Philadelphia's Four Seasons. Coming from a very modest background, a small ming town, she seems to be on top of the world - until we read the last page of the Prologue. Hailing a cab she starts home only to spy a dingy looking tavern. She tells the driver to let her out there. Once perched on a bar stool sipping a glass of Miller, she wonders how long it will take - not long at all. Soon there is someone beside her with his hand on her knee. '.....he had bloodshot blue eyes, heavy stubble, and hair that shone in greasy strands.' Nonetheless, Cate moves that hand onto her thigh and tells him her name is Karen. Obviously, our heroine has a really serious problem, one that she cannot keep hidden for long after a famous TV producer, Art Simone, is brought before her. Prosecutor Richard Marz accuses him of stealing his idea for what has become a popular television show. Cate rules in favor of Simone who is soon murdered. Naturally, Marz becomes the prime suspect until he, too, is found dead. Enter the prosecutor's partner, a reprehensible police officer who digs deeply enough into Cate's life to discover her seamy secrets. Once they become headline news everything important to her is in jeopardy, as well as her life. Scottoline is a master of fast paced dialogue and plot twists that keep the pages turning, and Kate Burton's sterling reading keeps us listening. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like all of Lisa Scottoline's novels, this is a fast-paced, enjoyable novel. The new character of Cate Fante is a strong female main character with a great sense of humor. I love that all of Lisa's lead characters are down-to-earth females, and Cate is no exception. The ending of the novel was unexpected, and the novel wrapped up nicely.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lisa Scottoline's razor sharp wit was the best part of this story. I found the mystery less suspenseful than it could have been but the main character was very, very witty. I also enjoyed some of the behind-the-scenes legal acitivity. This was my first by Scottoline, and I will definetly read more of her work. Very entertaining. I did have a problem with the story's central premise, however, and didn't really see the problem with a single, adult woman having a consensual one night stand with a single adult male, even if she is a judge. She's still a human being. Would a man be judged as harshly?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cannot for the life of me understand the bad reviews posted here about this book. This book was excellent. Cate, the judge, is a perfect example of how a judge is human, too. Also, I loved the true historical data that Lisa Scottoline includes in this book, and in her other books. I had no idea about the mine fires in PA, that still burn today. This book was truly fabulous.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Cate's character, and I found the book to be very entertaining (you just had to appreciate Cate's sense of humor)and couldn't put it down - the suspense kept the pages turning. This is the first book I've read by Scottoline and plan to read the rest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A federal judge who loses her cover due to a murder-suicide is a plot that is classic Scottoline. Total A+. Too bad there isn't room for a 6-star rating, because this book would get it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I usually like Scottalini's books. This one was mildly interesting, but patently unbelievable. The storyline did not flow, and in several instances, subjects or situations seemed to be added artificially to please the author. I kept waiting for the added information to be tied into the story or the character's motivation in some way, but that didn't happen. A disjointed, hodge-podge book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Scottilone at her best, this thriller kept me turning page after page. Dirty Blonde moves her to the top. Grab this one and settle down for a thrill ride.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Somewhat interesting story, but the 'whodunit' ending came out of the blue and was not very believable. This was the first time I was disappointed after finishing a book by Lisa Scottoline.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Scottoline's books and this is by far the best book she ever wrote. You cheer for the judge yet wrinkle your nose at her extra curricular activities. It's a book you can't stop reading and by the end you hope the protagonist has fought her demons and gained her self esteem.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Sottoline's books and this is by far the best book she ever wrote. You cheer for the judge yet wrinkle your nose at her extra curricular activities. It's a book you can't stop reading and by the end you hope the protagonist has fought her demons and gained her self esteem.