Mary was the Neighborhood Girl Who Made Good, so she got her self-esteem from being universally beloved.Mary has a big case and a wedding weeks away when an elderly grandfather comes into the office. His orphaned grandson, an engaging ten-year-old with Dyslexia, is accused of attacking a school aide and they are being sued. Patrick reveales that the aide molested him. Mary takes the case. Discovering the school has failed to offer Patrick the help he needs to learn to read and become successful she arranges for his admission into a private school.
That evening Mary stops by their house to find the grandfather has died and Patrick is in denial. Stepping in to help, Mary becomes emotionally attached and can't let go. She decides to become Patrick's foster parent to ensure he gets the help he needs.
But is Patrick as innocent as he appears? When a fraught Patrick holds a gun on the Department of Human Services case worker who wants to separate him from Mary he is classified as a threat. The police even suspect Patrick of causing his grandfather's death by an overdose of insulin.
Damaged is the newest Lisa Scottoline book in the best selling Rosato & DiNunzio series. It is geared to shed light on the complexities of child welfare, the intricacies of the foster system, and the challenges facing special needs children. Most of the novel revolves around Mary's fight to become Patrick's foster mom.
The subplot offers suspense and thrills after Mary starts piecing things together. Meanwhile, her fiancée is out of town and unaware of Mary's decisions. What will Anthony think when he returns to find Mary is committing to parenting a child without his input? Will their relationship end as they realize they are not operating as 'married', but as individuals make decisions alone, not jointly?
The issues Scottoline address in the novel are important and readers learn along with Mary. This does slow the book down, but the tension of what will happen--and what did happen--drives the reader's interest. Mary's delightful family and neighborhood friends are always fun and add lighthearted comic moments.
Read the first chapter at http://scottoline.com/book/damaged/
Read my review on Scottline's previous book Corrupted here
I received a free book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
St Martin's Press
$27.99 hard cover, $14.99 ebook
Publication August 16, 2016