The unlikely heroine of this Lisa Scottoline thriller (which follows 2006’s Dirty Blonde), mousy University of Pennsylvania assistant law professor Natalie “Nat” Greco, finds herself in way over her head when an unintended visit to a minimum-security prison in nearby Chester County puts her in the middle of a deadly uprising — and places her at the center of an elaborate plot that involves an incarcerated crime boss and more than a few improbable conspirators.
Greco’s classes at Penn Law — the History of Justice, for example — aren’t nearly as well attended as those taught by charismatic and handsome prof Angus Holt. Greco herself is far from immune to Holt’s charm, so when he asks her to accompany him to Chester County Correctional Institution to lecture to inmates involved in an externship program, she quickly agrees. But the professors’ visit soon turns deadly; a riot erupts, and amid the chaos Greco finds herself alone with a dying correctional officer who has been stabbed through the heart with a metal shank. His last words are a cryptic message to his wife: “It’s under the floor.” Soon thereafter, Greco is inexplicably set up for the murder of a state trooper and is forced to become a fugitive from justice while she tries to unravel the mystery of the dying man’s words.
While not as sexually supercharged or frenetically paced as Dirty Blonde,Daddy’s Girl derives its power from the subtle and compelling coming-of-age of protagonist Greco, a sheltered and socially naive woman who, when faced with the ultimate adversity, discovers herself.
Review From Publishers Weekly
The undistinguished academic career of Natalie “Nat” Greco, a mousy and naïve law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, takes an unexpected turn at the start of this less than compelling legal thriller from bestseller Scottoline (Dirty Blonde). When an attractive male colleague, Angus Holt, convinces Nat to accompany him on a teaching assignment at a nearby prison, a sudden riot puts them both in peril. Nat finds herself desperately attempting to save the life of a guard, apparently stabbed by an inmate during the fracas. The dying man asks her to pass on his last words to his wife, but possessing knowledge of this cryptic message proves dangerous. Nat finds herself accused of murder and must evade the law while also tracking down the bad guys. Her methods more often resemble that of Nancy Drew than an Ivy League professor, and the plot suffers by comparison with Peter Abrahams’s gritty End of Story (2006), which makes better use of a similar theme. 11-city author tour. (Mar.)
Review From Booklist
Natalie “Nat” Greco’s law students just aren’t that interested in the history of justice, and she can’t seem to find a way to reach them. Then a new teaching opportunity develops that would take her out of the University of Pennsylvania and into a local prison classroom. She opts for the dramatic change of scenery and soon finds herself in the middle of a prison melee, attempting to save the life of an injured prisoner, who makes a dying declaration intended for his wife. In attempting to deliver the bewildering message, Nat nearly gets herself killed and winds up being framed for murder. Ever concerned with justice, Nat goes on the lam as she tries to uncover the mystery of the prisoner’s final words. Scottoline mixes stand-alones and her Rosato and Associates series in fairly even proportions, so series fans have learned to expect the occasional interruption. This one finds the author in good form, combining suspense- and character-building effectively. Like her heroine, Scottoline has recently begun to teach at Penn and is also embarking on another new project, a show for Court TV called Murder by the Book, featuring best-selling mystery writers presenting and discussing dramatizations of real-life crimes. She’s already immensely popular, but expect the bump in exposure to bump up demand for her latest. Mary Frances Wilkens