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Customer reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars

VINE VOICEon 3 January 2008
Cate Fante is a newly appointed Federal Judge with a secret; she likes to go to bars in rough areas and pick up men. Not a problem, you might think, except that many of the men she has encounters with are criminals of felons and her boyfriend wouldn't be too happy if he were to find out. As well as this we witness a court case with Fante presiding, in which a writer accuses a media mogul of stealing his idea for a show (that has become very successful) about lawyers in the Philadelphia area. Things at the trial don't go quite according to plan and leave Judge Fante both in danger for her life and also worried that her secret life will be revealed.

I think the other reviewers have been a little harsh. This is an enjoyable thriller, but nothing remarkable. The characters are quite interesting, if a little familiar, and the plot hangs together. The only small criticism I would make is that about 250 pages into the novel I thought the story was going to start to follow a different plot line. This distraction was unnecessary and would have benefitted from editing (in other words, it should have been cut!)

A passable thriller, which won't amaze you but will pass a couple of pleasurable hours.
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on 18 March 2006
I couldn't wait to get my hands on Lisa Scottoline's latest, "Dirty Blonde." The author, one of my favorites when it comes to legal mystery thrillers, disappoints this time - Big Time! What ticks me off is that she has all the components here to make a really great read...but she takes the easy road and thus her protagonist and her storyline are not at all credible.
Thirty-nine year-old Cate Fante, a newly appointed federal judge, seems to have it all - smarts, looks, health, money (she was a successful member of a topnotch Philadelphia law firm before her career change), a wonderful boyfriend and great girlfriends. What more could anyone desire? Well, she also has a terrible secret, one that no one would want...ever! Cate has a dark side that compels her to pick up strange men, dangerous men, some even convicted felons, in sleazy bars and have down and dirty sex with them before walking out to resume business and life as usual. So far so good...or at least interesting, right?
Cate presides over a breach-of-contract lawsuit involving an extremely popular TV show, "a cable blockbuster," Attorneys@Law. Plaintiff Richard Marz, claims that a successful producer and former friend, Art Simone, stole his idea for the series. Cate rules reluctantly in favor of the defendant, but not before blasting him from the bench. "You may have made a fortune, Mr. Simone, but as far as I am concerned, you stole every penny of it." That same evening, Marz apparently murders Simone and then takes his own life.
When a former detective with a grudge finds a tape featuring Cate in compromising positions and the judge's private life is made very public, front page news, the ensuing scandal puts her job at risk as well as her life. Still good.
Our judge, who thinks there is more to the murder/suicide than meets the eye, becomes an effective sleuth, determined to solve what she believes to be a double murder and even more determined to get her life back on track.
So what could be wrong with this seemingly unputdownable novel? Well, psychologically Cate Fante has serious problems, problems that weekly visits with a therapist won't solve....unless she saw her therapist for one hundred years! Give me a break! That's like expecting an alcoholic, or a compulsive gambler, or someone with an eating disorder to turn their lives around, (let alone modify behavior), with a few sessions of therapy. I really take issue with the cavalier manner in which Ms. Scottoline deals with Judge Fante's serious neuroses in order to further her plot. Cate says I will never do this again...and stops. I don't want to spoil the plot, but there's even a new love interest who never questions her behavior. Cate, who could have been an extraordinary three-dimensional character, thus comes across as flat as cardboard.
So everything winds up hunky dory, girlfriends giggle about new boyfriends and all is well with the world.
Along the way, our protagonist visits her hometown, Centralia, the Northeastern Pennsylvania town destroyed by a persistent mine fire. The events surrounding this real life town, its former inhabitants and the results of the fire are true and quite fascinating. Also of interest is the legal take on whether (and how much) the private life of a public official, a federal judge appointed for life, should impinge on the public career of same official.
I have read glowing reviews of "Dirty Blonde," so it appears I am a lone voice with my thumbs down critique. I just believe that Lisa Scottoline is way too talented to give her readers this super-lite kind of fiction.
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on 31 March 2008
After a bumpy start this novel was very easy to read. I found I relaxed into her style and soon became accustomed to Cate Fante (the main character). I could see the place of Cate's 'secrets' but this was the bit I found unrealistic. I can't say more than secrets as I don't wish to spoil the plot for anyone as it isn't identified on the dust jacket.
The characters are easy to get along with and I found the character of Warren really interesting but Gina and Warren seemed like an 'add-on' rather than part of the actual plot. This was a downside as they didn't seem to fit with the story. All the endings were tied up, sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't; in this case it does.

I did want to keep turning the pages to find out what was going to happen but this was more because every time I was losing interest along came another excellent revelation. I've not read a novel involving judges before, I often prefer medical thrillers. I would look out for more by her (and other similar novels). I am unable therefore to say how this novel compares to others but as a first one for me I was very pleased.
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on 5 January 2008
I have never been a big fan of the American Legal thriller, but mum left me her copy after a visit the other day. I picked it up and was unable to put it back down, finished reading it two days! This is a gritty read that explores the weaknesses of the human character. The lead character is Cate Fante, she has just been appointed as a federal judge, she is young and a looker, but she also has a past that is less than judicial. She has a secrete vice, she likes to pick-up strangers at bars. It is in her best interest that her vice remain unknown to the general public. Alas, though, her first case exposes her tawdry past life and threatens her future as a judge along with her life! Parts of the book elicited the sexual voyeur in me, but then it would turn the sexual tension into disgust. It made me think how we all have things we hide. The conclusion was a bit of reach, and I do not think Cate's motives for her indiscretions are ever really explained, then again maybe they are unexplainable? Overall, though this is a well paced suspense story I can highly recommend!
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on 30 November 2010
The rise and fall, and rise, of a lady judge with an addiction to one-night stands. I don't know anything about the rules governing the appointment and behaviour of Federal judges, otherwise I might have found the plot far less believable than I did; but I'm happy in my ignorance, it's an exciting, engaging story written with humour.

Essentially the heroine has to save her career after her seedy private life becomes public while solving a connected murder at the same time. The author makes it hard to like our judge at times; on occasions she acts like a bully and most of the trouble she lands in is her own fault, but our heroine takes it on the chin and we end up rooting for her. The ending is perhaps a little too neat and quick, but it does the job. I'll definitely pick up the next Lisa Scottoline title I come across.
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on 24 April 2010
An entertaining piece of fluff, too unbelievable to take seriously, redeemed greatly by its depiction of the burning coalmine and destruction of that community.

Well-written, but what is written could never even remotely coincide with reality.
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VINE VOICEon 16 November 2011
Not the best legal drama by a long way.

I decided to read Scottoline as I really enjoy the Linda Fairstein novels about Alex Cooper (a sex crimes prosecutor), unfortunately Dirty Blonde which is about a female judge who gets caught up in a personal scandal and a murder (to boot) is nowhere near as good as the Alex Cooper series. The character is unlikeable, the writing has moments of pace but not enough and the plot is too unbelievable and simplistic especially the ending.

If you like legal thrillers and are looking for something new you could try Dirty Blonde, at the end of the day I didn't stop reading it, however if you haven't all ready tried Linda Fairstein I would rate her over Scottoline.
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VINE VOICEon 24 March 2006
For those who love Ms. Scottoline's Philly-based thrillers about Rosato & Associates, please be aware that this story isn't about that fascinating group of female lawyers although it is based in Philly. Ms. Scottoline adds a new character which will definitely make an impression on you. Judge Cate Fante is one of a kind.
Powerful men have often found themselves drawn to casual sexual affairs. As long as these affairs are kept secret, the men operate with impunity. When the cat's out of the bag, look out!
How much more likely is that to be the case when an attractive woman does something similar . . . picking up men for sexual entertainment? That's the theme of Dirty Blonde.
Like our former president, everything is revealed in public. Ms. Scottoline exaggerates the reaction to make her point about the double standard that women face, and the story works up to a frenzied climax as Judge Cate Fante seems to have lost most of what she cares about. Up to that point, I was riveted and couldn't stop reading.
Then the book works up to a resolution that I didn't find credible, interesting or in keeping with her theme. The message seems to be that you can be as careless as you want in life and everything will be okay.
Dirty Blonde is, however, a thoughtful look into the special challenges of being a single woman judge at a high level in the judiciary. I thought that Ms. Sottoline got that part extremely right.
Another strength of the book is a powerful sequence located in Centralia, Pennsylvania.
In the advance reader's edition, I was amused to see that Terrell Owens, the talented but controversial former Philadelphia Eagles receiver, was referred to as Tyrell Davis, the actor. I hope that this was corrected in the edited version of the book. It does make me wonder how closely Ms. Scottoline is in touch with Philly these days.
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on 14 March 2006
Thrilling and entertaining reading. Another book with compelling characters, particularly the lead Cate Fante. Her fight in a professional crisis is very well done. A fascinating murder mystery intertwined with personal problems and a strong lead character gives this book a lot of appeal. This is the second book with a convincing woman lead character, the other being 'FUSION' by Bruce Huntly, that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed. I strongly recommend both.
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on 26 November 2007
The novel is well written, with good moments, but somehow lacks substance and is resolved far too easily. The author seems very capable, but this isn't a strong novel.
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