Rough Justice (Rosato & Associates Series #3)

Rough Justice (Rosato & Associates Series #3)

by Lisa Scottoline

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The third electrifying book in #1 bestselling author Lisa Scottoline’s Rosato & Associates series has criminal lawyer Marta Richter in a race to prove one man’s innocence.

“Lisa Scottoline writes riveting thrillers that keep me up all night, with plots that twist and turn.”—Harlan Coben

Criminal lawyer Marta Richter is hours away from winning an acquittal for her client, millionaire businessman Elliot Steere. Elliot is on trial for the murder of a homeless man who had tried to carjack him. But as the jury begins deliberations, Marta discovers the chilling truth about her client’s innocence.

Taking justice into her own hands, she sets out to prove the truth, with the help of two young associates. In an excruciating game of beat-the-clock with both the jury and the worst blizzard to hit Philadelphia in decades, Marta will learn that the search for justice isn’t only rough—it can also be deadly.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061096105
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/03/1999
Series: Rosato & Associates Series , #3
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 67,613
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(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

Chapter One

It started with a slip of the tongue. At first, Marta Richter thought she'd misunderstood him. She felt exhausted after the two-month murder trial and couldn't always hear her client through the thick bulletproof window. "You mean you struggled in his grasp," Marta corrected.

Elliot Steere didn't reply, but brushed ash from his chair on the defendant's side of the window. In his charcoal Brioni suit and a white shirt with a cutaway collar, Steere looked incongruous but not uncomfortable in the jailhouse setting. The businessman's cool was the stuff of tabloid legend. The tabs reported that on the night Steere had been arrested for murder, he'd demanded only one phone call. To his stockbroker. "That's what I said," Steere answered after a moment. "I struggled in his grasp."

"No, you said he struggled in your grasp. It was self-defense, not murder. You were struggling, not him."

A faint smile flickered across Steere's strong mouth. He had a finely boned nose, flat brown eyes, and suspiciously few crow's feet for a real estate developer. In magazine photos Steere looked attractive, but the fluorescent lights of the interview room hollowed his cheeks and dulled his sandy hair. "What's the point? The trial's over, the jury's out. It doesn't matter anymore who was struggling with who. Whom."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Marta asked. She didn't want him to play word games, she wanted him to praise her brilliant defense. It was the case of her career, and Steere's acquittal was in the bag. "Of course it matters."

"Why? What if it wasn't self-defense? What if I murdered him like the D.A. said? So what?"

Marta blinked, irritated. "Butthat's not the way it happened. He was trying to hijack your car. He attacked you with a knife. He threatened to kill you. You shot him in self-defense."

"In the back of the head?"

"There was a struggle. You had your gun and you fired." Without realizing it, Marta was repeating the words of her closing argument. The jury had adjourned to deliberate only minutes earlier. "You panicked, in fear of your life."

"You really bought that?" Steere crossed one long leg over the other and a triangle of tailored pant flopped over with a fine, pressed crease. "'In fear of my life?' I stole that line from a cop show, the one where everybody smokes. You know the show?"

Marta's mouth went dry. She didn't watch TV even when she was on, another television lawyer with wide-set blue eyes and chin-length hair highlighted blond. A hardness around her eyes and a softness under her chin told the viewers she wasn't thirty anymore. Still Marta looked good on the tube and knew how to handle herself; explain the defense in a sound bite and bicker with the prosecutor. Wrap it up with wit. Smile for the beauty shot. "What is this, a joke? What's TV have to do with anything?"

"Everything. My story, my defense, was fiction. Rich white guy carjacked by poor black guy. White guy has registered Glock for protection. Black guy has X-Acto knife. Not a good match." Steere eased back into his chair. "The jury bought it because it was what they expected, what they see on TV."

Marta's lips parted in disbelief. The news struck like an assault, stunning and violent. Her mind reeled. Her face felt hot. She braced her manicured fingers against the cold aluminum ledge and fought for her bearings. "What are you saying?"
"I'm guilty as sin, dear." Steere's gaze was point-blank and his voice tinny as it passed through a thin metal grate under the bulletproof window. The cinder-block walls of the interview room, lacquered calcium white, seemed suddenly to be closing in on Marta.

"But he slashed your cheek with the knife," she said, uncomprehending.

"He was dead at the time. I held his hand, with the knife in it."

"They found fibers from your tux on his hands and clothes."

"There was a struggle. He put up a fight. Mostly begging, boohooing like a little girl."

Marta's stomach turned over. "Tell me the whole story. The truth."

"What's to tell? A bum came at me when I stopped at the red light. He was waving a knife, drunk, screaming I should give up the car. Like I would. A new SL600 convertible. Wet dream of a car." Steere shook his head in momentary admiration. "So I grabbed my gun, got out of the car, and shot him in the head. I called the cops from the cell phone."

Marta crossed her arms across her chest. You could call it a hug but that wasn't how she thought of it. She'd heard confessions like this from other clients, and though Steere didn't look like them, he sounded like them. They all had the urge to brag, to prove how smart they were and what they could get away with. Marta had known Steere was tough-minded; she hadn't guessed he was inhuman. "You're a murderer," she said.

"No, I'm a problem-solver. I saw some garbage and took it out. The man was a derelict, worthless. He didn't work, he didn't produce. He didn't own anything. Fuck, he didn't even live anywhere. This time he picked the wrong guy. End of story."

"Just like that?"

"Come on, Marta. The man was useless. He didn't even know how to handle the fucking knife." Steere chuckled. "You did it better during the demonstration, when you held it under your chin. Did you see the jury? The front row almost fainted." Rough Justice. Copyright © by Lisa Scottoline. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Rough Justice 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found the book quite enjoyable. I like her style of writing and the way she writes a story. She has an interesting way of expressing herself. I ignored the bad language, which, of course, doesn't add anything to the story.
RapJR More than 1 year ago
Typical of the series - very interesting and keeps you guessing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
YogiABB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rough Justice is a backwards murder mystery. The book features hot shot (and just plain hot) defense attorney Marta Richter and a host of other female attorneys who are defending the Philadelphia millionaire slumlord Elliot Steere on a murder charge that he killed a homeless man in cold blood.Things are going pretty smoothly for the Marta. She and Steere have been playing footsie during the trial and after the acquittal they are riding off in the sunset together.That day dream lasts until the end of the second paragraph of the book. Her bubble is popped. Her client may not be innocent, he is definitely not taking her off into the sunset. She is mad and you don't make a hot attorney mad.What happens after that is pretty wild. There is a huge snow storm, cross country skiing, murder and killing, mayhem, horse shoeing, poisoning, stalking, geocaching (kind of!), jury tampering, Marta making a conjugal visit to one of the juror's (that's a new one, the visit is G rated by the way), voting scandals, organ donations, and a race to the courthouse. This book has it all.The book was written in 1997 before everybody and their hot attorney had cell phones. Some of the predicaments that the characters found themselves in could have been resolved if they had a cell phone to call for help.This is a darn good book. The writing is very smooth and draws you into the story quickly. I rate it 3 stars out of 4, which is very good..Being originally published in 1997 you'll have to get it in paperback or at your library. I'll be keeping my eye out for more Scottoline novels. Scottoline is a prolific author. Check out her website.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful thriller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
carolectsc More than 1 year ago
Not one of her best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ending isn't the greatest but this is a good read; captivating at times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story didnt give me a character to care about. And the box in the sand was ridiculous
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This whole series is very good. I've really enjoyed the series. I have two more books to read. Keep the series going. Lisa Scottoline has a very special gift, which I hope she continues writing forever. I've read some of her other books and enjoyed them as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gave this an A and all of the others by Lisa were given a B. Too much to remember but thank goodness I keep a spreadsheet of what I've read and what grade I assigned.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another GREAT book by Miss Scottoline.
expat63 More than 1 year ago
This was my first purchase on my Nook as it was among the samples, and it did not disappoint! I've read her books before and what pleases me most is she draws you in to her character's plights and concludes in a wholly satisfying way.
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