Moment of Truth (Rosato & Associates Series #5)

Moment of Truth (Rosato & Associates Series #5)

by Lisa Scottoline

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When attorney Jack Newlin discovers his wife dead in their home, he's convinced he knows who killed her—and is equally determined to hide the truth. He decides to frame himself for murder, and to seal his fate he hires the most inexperienced lawyer he can find: a reluctant rookie by the name of Mary DiNunzio from the hot Philadelphia firm of Rosato & Associates. But hiring Mary may turn out to be his biggest mistake. She doubts Jack's confession, and her ethics and instincts tell her she can't defend a man who wants to convict himself. Smarter, gutsier, and more persistent than she has any right to be, Mary sets out to prove what really happened—because, as any lawyer knows, a case is never as simple as it seems. And nothing is ever certain until the final moment of truth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061030598
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/06/2001
Series: Rosato & Associates Series , #5
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 126,812
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.12(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

Jack Newlin had no choice but to frame himself for murder. Once he had set his course, his only fear was that he wouldn't get away with it. That he wasn't a good enough liar, even for a lawyer.

The detectives led Jack in handcuffs into a small, windowless room at the Roundhouse, Philadelphia's police administration building. Bolted to the floor at the center of the room was a straight-backed steel chair, which reminded Jack of the electric chair. He looked away.

The walls of the room were a dingy gray and marred by scuff marks as high as wainscoting. A typewriter table topped with a black Smith-Corona stood against the side wall, and in front of the table sat two old wooden chairs. One of the chairs groaned when the heavyset detective, who had introduced himself as Stan Kovich, seated himself and planted his feet wide. "Siddown, Mr. Newlin," Detective Kovich said, gesturing to a wooden chair across from him.

"Thank you." Jack took a seat, noting that the detective had bypassed the steel chair, evidently reserved for murderers who weren't wealthy. Special treatment never suited Jack. A bookkeeper's son, he had worked his way through school to become an estates lawyer who earned seven figures, but even his large partnership draw remained a pittancein comparison to his wife's family money. He had always wished the Buxton money away, but now he was glad of it. Money was always a credible motive for murder.

"You want a soda? A Coke or somethin'?" Kovich asked. The detective wore a short-sleeved white shirt, light for wintertime, and his bullish neck spread his collar open. His shoulders hunched, powerful but gone to fat, andkhaki-colored Sansabelts strained to cover his thighs. A bumpy, working-class nose dominated his face and he had cheekbones so fleshy they pressed against the rims of his glasses, large gold-rimmed aviators. Their bifocal windows magnified his eyes, which were earth brown and addressed Jack without apparent judgment.

"No, thanks. Nothing to drink." Jack made deliberate eye contact with Detective Kovich, who was closer and seemed friendlier than the other detective. Propped against the wall on a thin Italian loafer, he was black and hadn't said anything except to introduce himself. Hovering over six feet tall, rangy and slim, the detective had a face as narrow as his body, a small, thin mouth, and a nose a shade too long in proportion to high cheekbones. Dark, almost-onyx eyes sat high on his face, like judges atop a dais.

Let's start by you telling me something about yourself, Mr. Newlin." Kovich smiled, showing teeth stained by coffee. "By the way, just for the record, this interview is being videotaped." He waved vaguely behind the smudgy mirror on the wall, but Jack didn't look, steeling himself to be convincing in his false confession.

"Well, I'm forty-three. I'm a partner at Tribe & Wright, heading the estates and trusts department. I attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Yale, and Girard before that."

Kovich nodded. "Wow impressive."

"Thank you," Jack said. He was proudest of Girard, a boarding high school established by the trust of Stephen Girard for fatherless boys. Girard was a Philadelphia institution. He never could have made it to Yale or any other university otherwise.

"Where you from?"

"North Philly. Torresdale."

"Your people still up there?"

"No. My father died a long time ago and my mother passed away last year, from lung cancer."

"I know how that goes. I lost my mother two years ago. It's no picnic."

"I'm sorry," Jack said. No picnic. It was such a rich understatement, his mouth felt bitter. His mother, gone. His father, so long ago. Now honor. He cleared his throat. "Maybe we should move on."

"Sure, sure." Kovich nodded quickly. "So, you're a lawyer at the Tribe law firm. Pretty big outfit, right? I read somethin' about them in the paper, how much they bring in a year. They're printin' money?"

"Don't believe everything you read. Reporters have to sell newspapers. "

"Tell me about it." Kovich laughed, a harsh guttural noise that burst from his throat. He turned to the other detective, still standing against the wall. "Right, Mick?" he asked.

The detective, who had introduced himself as Reginald Brinkley, not Mick, only nodded in response, and the pursing of his lips told Jack he didn't welcome the attention. Brinkley, also middle-aged, wore a well tailored brown sport coat with a maroon silk tie, still tight despite the late hour and affixed to his white shirt with a gold-toned tie bar. His gazechilled the room and the uptilt to his chin was distinctly resentful. Jack didn't know what he had done to provoke the detective and only hoped it worked against him.

"So, Mr. Newlin," Kovich was saying, "hey, can I call you Jack?"

"Of course."

"You got any other family, Jack? Kids?"


"Oh yeah?" Kovich's tone brightened. "What flavor?"

"A girl. A daughter."

"How old?"


"I got a sixteen-year-old!" Kovich grinned, showing his bad teeth. "It's" a trip, ain't it? Teenagers. You got just the one?"


"Me, I got a thirteen-year-old, too. Also a girl. Houseful of blow dryers. My wife says when they're not in the bathroom, they're in the chat rooms. Yours like that, on the computer?"

Jack cleared his throat again. "I don't mean to be impolite, but is there a reason for this small talk?" He didn't want to go there and it seemed like something a murderer would say.

"Well, uh, next-of-kin notification is our job. Standard procedure, Jack."

He tensed up. He should have thought of that. The police would be the ones to tell Paige. "My daughter lives on her own. I'd hate for her to hear this kind of news from the police. Can't I tell her myself?"

Moment of Truth. Copyright © by Lisa Scottoline. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Reading Group Guide


Many book clubs have written Lisa asking for questions to guide their discussion, so Lisa came up with a bunch for each book. Her goal in writing books is to entertain, so it goes without saying that Lisa wants you to have lots of fun discussing her books, and has reflected that in her questions. She provides the talking points, and you and your group shape the conversation. So go ahead, get together, chat it up with your friends, discuss books, kids, and relationships, but by all means, have fun.


  1. Is there a Moment of Truth in this book or is this just another stupid title because Lisa can't do titles?

  2. Is Mary a better lawyer now than in Everywhere?

  3. Do you believe Jack Newlin's confession? Why do the police? Is it realistic?

  4. Why does Mary fall for Jack? Hint: She has a pulse.

  5. Is Bennie right to try to check Mary or is she just a big killjoy?

  6. Are child models weird or do they get a bum rap?

  7. This book has a lot of police procedure in it, all meticulously researched ( I might add). Love it or leave it? Is it too much already?

  8. Does Brinkley's ethnicity have anything to do with his characterization, or his fictional life? Could he just as easily be Caucasian?

  9. Isn't it scary being the parent of a teenager? Does Dr. Phil really have all the answers?

About the author

Lisa Scottoline is a New York Times bestselling author and former trial lawyer. She has won the Edgar Award, the highest prize in suspense fiction, and the Distinguished Author Award from the Weinberg Library of the University of Scranton. Shehas served as the Leo Goodwin Senior Professor of Law and Popular Culture at Nova Southeastern Law School, and her novels are used by bar associations for the ethical issues they present. Her books are published in more than twenty languages. She lives with her family in the Philadelphia area.

Customer Reviews

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Moment of Truth (Rosato and Associates Series #7) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
bmamca36 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy the Rosato and Associates books by Lisa Scottolini. At the beginning of this book, I found it somewhat slow and boring which might be because the plot seemed lame. Jack frames himself for her wife's murder because he believes that his daughter killed her. As the book goes on, more suspects appear than just Jack and his daughter and the action becomes fast paced, page turning enjoyment. There were many twists and turns and was not predictable. Well worth reading.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Philadelphia socialite Honor Newlin manages the modeling career of her teenager. Honor becomes a murder victim in which her husband, successful estates lawyer Jack confesses to the crime. Police Detectives Kovich and Brinkley relish the ease of solving this high profile case. District Attorney Dwight Davis concludes that the killing is premeditated and decides to go for the death penalty.

The only problem with the official scenario is that Jack is innocent of murder. He tampered with the crime scene to turn the evidence towards him instead of his daughter Paige. He thinks Paige killed her mother after suffering years of emotional abuse from the woman. Feeling guilty for not stepping in over the years, Jack feels he deserves to spend life behind bars as a form of penitence. However, Jack had not realized how competent his attorney is and how much she believes she represents an innocent person.

Fans of legal procedurals know how good a Lisa Scottoline novel always is. The exalted author¿s latest tale MOMENT OF TRUTH stars a cast of characters who touch the heart of the reader. Especially endearing is Jack¿s lawyer Mary DiNunzio, a naïve, pious, warm-hearted person whose empathy for the pain of other seems genuine. The story line is interesting, as the reader knows the truth from the onset yet somehow the thrilling plot retains a high degree of excitement as one wonders how the tale will play out. Ms. Scottoline provides a special book that deservedly will gain her even greater acclaim.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous 4 months ago
This was a page turner and kept me interested all the way through. She writes so well and has a lot of twists and turns in this book. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great book.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Top marks for turning a murder mystery/police procedural on its head, in that we have a murder victim who pretty much everyone is happy to see dead, and a queue of people trying to claim responsibility. Do the police take the easy route and accept the first confession, or dig deeper? There was more to this novel, and the murder itself, that immediately meets the eye, and I liked the way the author built up personality through dialogue. Some great characters - the two detectives who behave like an old married couple, and the over-the-top divorce lawyer. Some eye-opening insider stuff on the legal trade - particularly the fact that some firms charge clients for time spent by two lawyers discussing....the client's bill. Outrageous but presumably true!Some elements of the plot - particularly the later scenes at the Italians' home - were scarcely believable, but all good fun in the end.
benfulton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had difficulty with the first part, where the obnoxious lawyer is trying to figure out how to save his spoiled model daughter from the murder rap. But when the book shifts to focus more on the Rosato lawyers and the cops it picks up the pace. One of Scottoline's tactics is to keep a whole lot of characters in reserve, so Mary, who is a minor character in a few other books, takes the starring role in this one, and many of the other characters take on greater or lesser roles depending on where the author is trying to get to. It feels rather like the characters are all actors, each demanding a few minutes in the limelight; but it's a nice touch, and makes picking up more books by the same author more interesting.This is only the second book by Scottoline that I've read, and they both had rather ludicrous romantic subplots - perhaps a nod to pick up some female readers who wouldn't be interested in Grisham? The legalities of the case don't really play much of a role, so it's hard to really call it a legal thriller, but the real thriller parts are well done, and I was completely surprised by the identity of the murderer. I'll be reading more by her.
moonshineandrosefire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Jack Newlin comes home to find his wife dead on their elegant dining room floor, he's convinced he knows who has killed her. He sets out to stage the murder so that he appears to be guilty. To hammer the final nail in his coffin, he hires the most inexperienced lawyer he can find: Mary DiNunzio of Rosato and Associates.Unfortunately for Jack, hiring Mary might be his biggest mistake. Inexperienced she might be, but Mary soon discovers that instead of defending a guilty client claiming to be innocent, she defending an innocent client claiming to be guilty. I give this story a B+!
lkenglish More than 1 year ago
This is the type of suspenseful crime story that I've come to expect from Lisa Scottoline. I don't even mind that the plot is a bit predictable. The novel grabbed my attention from the opening line.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for the next one. Keep up the great work
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maybe a little to sophomoric with the crush between Mary and Jack. I felt like they were described like high school kids.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
REID324 More than 1 year ago
Having enjoyed several of her books, I wanted to like this one as well. But I couldn't stay interested in Moment of Truth. The character of Mary was insipid and dull. And she was the main character! I will read more books by this author; hopefully they will be better than this one.
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