Ronald Farrington Sharp practiced law for 34 years and has been a professional sculptor for even longer. He now writes and sculpts in his studio on the beach in Florida where he lives with his wife, the artist Susannah Keith, and their standard poodle, Puccini. His sculpture is featured in the collections of two dozen major universities throughout the country. He is also the author of two non-fiction books in the legal field, Winning the Divorce War, and Living Trusts for Everyone.
Sydney Simone feels no compunction about being a vigilante hit woman while concurrently maintaining an existence as assistant to sculptor and part-time lawyer Oscar Leopold. When a hit goes bad, Sydney pockets her payment anyway, never dreaming that bad guy Rico will track her down. Meanwhile, Oscar's lawyer buddy Roy is arrested for blowing up another attorney, and Oscar reluctantly takes the case. Then yet another lawyer dies, and the common denominator appears to be Florida's corrupt insurance legal defense industry. Readers won't be surprised-although Oscar is-to find Sydney smack dab in the middle of the mess. Let's see how clever she is now. VERDICT Sharp's nifty and intricate plotting saves the day for this winner of the first Poisoned Pen Press Discovery Mystery Award. While the author's characters may fail to engage (why is Sydney so grim; why is Oscar so passive?), it's hard to argue with the author's fiery and satisfying conclusion. Floridian pairings: try with Michael Haskins and Steven Forman. [See Prepub Alert, 7/2/12.] (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.