Final Appeal

Final Appeal

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To Philadelphia lawyer Grace Rossi, who's starting over after a divorce, a part-time job with a federal appeals court sounds perfect. But Grace doesn't count on being assigned to an explosive death penalty appeal. Nor does she expect ardor in the court in the form of an affair with her boss, Chief Judge Armen Gregorian. Then the truly unimaginable happens and Grace finds herself investigating a murder.

As Grace searches for the truth, she unearths a six-figure bank account kept by the judge with an alias; breaks into another judge's chambers; and follows a trail of bribery and judicial corruption that's stumped even the FBI. In no time at all, Grace under fire takes on a whole new meaning.

Performed by Kate Burton

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060726362
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/02/2004
Edition description: Abridged, 5 CDs, 6 Hours
Sales rank: 647,415
Product dimensions: 0.00(w) x 0.00(h) x (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.

Kate Burton has made numerous stage, film, and television appearances, and was seen on Broadway most recently in Hedda Gabler and The Beauty Queen of Leenane. She played the title role in Alice in Wonderland with her father, Richard Burton, on PBS.


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

Chapter One

At times like this I realize I'm too old to be starting over, working with law clerks. I own pantyhose with more mileage than these kids, and better judgment. For example, two of the clerks, Ben Safer and Artie Weiss, are bickering as we speak; never mind that they're making a scene in an otherwise quiet appellate courtroom, in front of the most expensive members of the Philadelphia bar.

"No arguing in the courtroom," I tell them, in the same tone I use on my six-year-old. Not that it works with her either.

"He started it, Grace," Ben says in a firm stage whisper, standing before the bank of leather chairs against the wall. "He told me he'd save me a seat and he didn't. Now there's no seats left."

“Will you move, geek? You're blocking my sun," Artie says, not bothering to look up from the sports page. He rarely overexerts himself; he's sauntered through life to date, relying on his golden-boy good looks, native intelligence, and uncanny jump shot. He throws one strong leg over the other and turns the page, confident he'll win this argument even if it runs into overtime. Artie, in short, is a winner.

But so is Ben in his own way; he was number two at Chicago Law School, meat grinder of the Midwest. "You told me you'd save me a seat, Weiss," he says, "so you owe me one. Yours. Get up."

"Eat me," Artie says, loud enough to distract the lawyers conferring at the counsel table like a bouquet of bald spots. They'd give him a dirty look if he were anyone else, but because he works for the chief judge they flash capped smiles; you never know which clerk's got your case on his desk.

"Get up. Now,Weiss."

"Separate, you two," I say. "Ben, go sit in the back. Argument's going to start any minute."

"Out of the question. I won't sit in public seating. He said he'd save me a seat, he owes me a seat."

"It's not a contract, Ben," I advise him. For free.

"I understand that. But he should be the one who moves, not me." He straightens the knot on his tie, already at tourniquet tension; between the squeeze on his neck and the one on his sphincter, the kid's twisted shut at both ends like a skinny piece of saltwater taffy. "I have a case being argued."

"So do 1, jizzbag," Artie says, flipping the page.

I like Artie, but the problem with the Artie Weisses of the world is they have no limits. "Artie, did you tell him you'd save him a seat?"

"Why would I do that> Then I'd have to sit next to him." He gives Ben the finger behind the tent of newspaper.

I draw the line. "Artie, put your finger away."

"Ooooh, spank me, Grace. Spank me hard. Pull my wittle pants down and throw me over your gorgeous knees."

"You couldn't handle it, big guy."

"Try me." He leans over with a broad grin.

441 mean it, Artie. You're on notice." He doesn't know I haven't had sex since my marriage ended three years ago. Nobody's in the market for a single mother, even a decent-looking one with improved brown hair,, authentic blue eyes, and a body that's staying the course, at least as we speak.

"Come on, sugar," Artie says, nuzzling my shoulder. "live the dream."

"Cut it out."

"You read the book, now see the movie."

I turn toward Ben to avoid laughing; it's not good to laugh when you're setting limits. "Ben , you know he's not going to move. The judges will be out any minute. Go find a seat in the back."

Ben scans the back row where the courthouse groupies sit; it's a lineup that includes retired men, the truly lunatic, even the homeless. Ben, looking them over, makes no effort to hide his disdain; you'd think he'd been asked to skinnydip in the Ganges. He turns to me, vaguely desperate. "Let me have your seat, Grace. I'll take notes for you."

"No.""But my notes are like transcripts. I used to

sell them at school."

"I can take my own notes, thank you." Ten years as a trial lawyer, I can handle taking notes-, taking notes is mostly what I do now as the assistant to the chief judge. I take notes while real lawyers argue, then I go to the library and draft an opinion that real lawyers cite in their next argument. But I'm not complaining. I took this job because it was part-time and I'm not as good a juggler as Joan Lunden, Paula Zahn, and other circus performers.

"How about you, Sarah?" Ben asks the third law clerk, Sarah Whittemore, sitting on my other side. "You don't have a case this morning. You can sit in the back."

Fat chance. Sarah smooths a strand of cool blond hair away from her face, revealing a nose so diminutive it's a wonder she gets any oxygen at all. "Sorry, I need this seat," she says.

I could have told him that. Sarah wants to represent the downtrodden, not mingle with them.

A paneled door opens near the dais and the

court crier, a compact man with a competent air, begins a last-minute check on the microphones at the dais and podium. Ben glances at the back row with dismay. "I can't sit back there with those people. One of them has a plastic hat on, for God's sake."

Artie looks over the top of his paper. "A plastic hat? Where?"

"There." Ben jerks his thumb toward a bearded man sporting a crinkled cellophane rain bonnet and a black raincoat buttoned to the neck.

Final Appeal. Copyright © by Lisa Scottoline. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Reading Group Guide


Many book clubs have written Lisa asking for questions to guide their discussion, so Lisa came up with a bunch for each book. Her goal in writing books is to entertain, so it goes without saying that Lisa wants you to have lots of fun discussing her books, and has reflected that in her questions. She provides the talking points, and you and your group shape the conversation. So go ahead, get together, chat it up with your friends, discuss books, kids, and relationships, but by all means, have fun.


  1. Grace Rossi is a fun character (I think, anyway) whom I have yet to write about again. Why, other than it's hard to have a heroine who needs a babysitter.

  2. What do we think about Grace? Is she believable? Is she a good or bad mother? How weird is her relationship to her mother? How great is her kid? Hint: She's modeled after my kid. I was a single mom for 11 years and never looked as good as Grace a single day.

  3. I have a crush on Shake and Bake. Do you? Are we nuts? We hardly know him. Also he doesn't exist.

  4. I have a crush on Armen The Sexy Judge. Do you? Now we are really sick. Can you have sex on a desk? Hint: ARE YOU CRAZY? OF COURSE NOT.

  5. I think secretaries matter, and not only because my mother was one. Do you agree? You have to. This brings me to Arletha. Do you love/hate her? What do we think of her choices? Final Appeal was nominated for an Edgar and WON! Is it any better than Everywhere? Hint: Does a fish need a bicycle?

About the author

Lisa Scottoline is a New York Times bestselling author and former trial lawyer. She has won theEdgar Award, the highest prize in suspense fiction, and the Distinguished Author Award from the Weinberg Library of the University of Scranton. She has served as the Leo Goodwin Senior Professor of Law and Popular Culture at Nova Southeastern Law School, and her novels are used by bar associations for the ethical issues they present. Her books are published in more than twenty languages. She lives with her family in the Philadelphia area.

Customer Reviews

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Final Appeal (Rosato and Associates Series #2) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 155 reviews.
Jennifer Moore More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable reading. I continue to read this authors work and would always recommend this to anyone who enjoys John Grishom, David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, John Lecroart...
Lala21559 More than 1 year ago
I have read a lot of her books, and to me, this one falls in the middle somewhere...not great, but not awful, either. The character development, except for the main character s not that well done, and you can't help wonder what the heck it was all about at the end. Maybe I'm being too picky, but it just left an empty taste in my mouth.
HmmmmPB More than 1 year ago
What on earth was she thinking? I'm so glad I bought this nook book for less than $4 or I'd really be miffed. I couldn't even finish it. Was this a creative writing assignment in dialogue? it's all dialogue. Well, maybe it isn't but there was enough of all dialogue in the first chapter to stop me from reading further. Who has time to spend on something that's not appealing. Read it if you must. Since it has such a "high stared" review, someone enjoyed it. So give it a try. It could be just for people other than me. The first book, "Every where that Mary went" was very good. i'll recommend it without hesitation. Enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although entertaining, this book is definitely not as good as others by the author. I was disappointed by 'who done it'. 'Mistaken Identity' and 'Everywhere That Mary Went' are the best in my opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first Scottoline book, and I don't believe I'll read another. Utterly forgettable characters, and the reading level appeared to be at the 4th or 5th grade.
TLJo More than 1 year ago
A good read. Not her best but not bad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm in the middle of it now and I must say, I've read several books by Lisa Scottoline and I am surprised and disappointed with the language although the story is good, I never have seen the point in using the f... word and it's in this book entirely too much. I want to see how it ends but don't know if I can get past that word much more.
mommy491 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book with lots of drama and action. It almost ranks up there with the rest of her material.
BritVic More than 1 year ago
From page one - which draws the reader in and makes one feel part of the plot - to the last page, it is hard to put Lisa's books down. Needless to say, as soon as this book is finished the reader is SO ready for the next one. Brilliant writer - want to see her books as movies!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all her books, I always look forward to a new one coming out.
George60 More than 1 year ago
This is a great read if you want something thats not to long. It holds you're attention but it's over way to soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took a while to get into the story, but once I did, I enjoyed it.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Loved the main character
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just ok
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Doesn't it just figure? I find a Scottoline that I like pretty well, and it's one her fans in general dislike. At least according to the 19 who rated it on Amazon, anyway. The same thing happened to me with Martha Grimes. Ah, well. It suits my self-image to be out-of-step every once in a while.Grace Rossi is a lawyer and a single mother, working as an assistant to a judge she's attracted to. It seems the attraction is mutual, and he asks for her help on a death sentence appeal, praising her abilities. Then one night they're working late and act on their attraction.The next morning, the judge is found dead, and his death is ruled a suicide. Grace is understandably reluctant to believe that, and so she begins investigating on her own, and soon finds herself in over her head.She's assisted by a variety of characters, including an office manager with a big secret, and a deep-undercover FBI agent. The suspects are similarly varied.Mostly, it's just an entertaining, twisty whodunit. I didn't quite believe the romance between Grace and the judge, but that was a fairly minor point, and more of a plot device to give her a reason to pursue the case in the face of danger and objections.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was not my favorite book by Scottoline. I liked the characters, but she has written better.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A one off book, but still about lawyers in Philadelphia. This time a single mother, working part time after a divorce. She has issues with her mother, is in love with her boss and has to mother 3 young clerks. Trouble starts when she works late with her boss - Chief of the third district court of appeals, on a death penalty case. Variety of characters and interwoven stories. Some could have used a little more development, but overall enjoyable.
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