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Editorial Reviews

Lisa Scottoline has written her most entertaining novel yet. Featuring newly appointed Federal Court Judge Cate Fante, the novel is a terrific page-turner, and Barbara Rosenblat's performance complements the story wonderfully. Rosenblat is especially effective conveying Cate's emotions and insecurities, which combine to place her in the middle of a murder and other events that arise from a ruling in one her cases. Equally important, Rosenblat captures the personalities and emotions of the novel's many supporting characters, supplying each with a distinct voice and style. Scottoline's fans will enjoy the story and look forward to the next chapter in Judge Fante's tumultuous life.

Publisher's Summary

Cate Fante is strong and smart, but when she gets appointed a federal judge, even she wonders if she can do the job justice. She's in her 30s, and she feels like she's joining the world's most exclusive retirement village. But Cate keeps her doubts a secret. And, as it happens, much else. For she leads a dark, double life that she hides from everyone.

Then a high-profile case in her courtroom explodes into a shocking murder-suicide, and it blasts her cover wide open. Overnight, her new career hangs in tatters. But Cate's troubles are only beginning. An enemy no one anticipated sends her running for her life, embarking on a journey that begins in the mystery of her own childhood. She'll have to fight her way back to the truth, or die trying.

Dirty Blonde is Lisa Scottoline's most suspenseful and gripping thriller to date. Mixing poignancy with her trademark wit and wonderfully compelling characters, it questions whether law and justice are always the same thing.

©2006 Lisa Scottoline; (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The fast pace and ever-increasing tension will keep readers turning the pages." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Babs
  • Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • 03-13-06

Blonde of little brain

Lisa Scottoline's heroines usually do at least one stupid thing per novel -- such as chasing criminals into deserted buildings or using themselves as bait for murderers -- but we shrug it off because her damsels in distress are so engaging and the plots both fun and suspenseful. But Dirty Blonde is pushing it. What kind of woman who is supposedly smart enough to be a judge at 39 can't understand why her pastime of picking up strangers in sleazy bars will interfere with her duties and reputation on the bench? Or that she might be suspended for missing court dates, failing to read the file before showing up to sentence someone, etc., etc.? We're supposed to feel outraged by the narrow-minded men in suits who try to stifle our gal Cate, but frankly I'm with the old boys on this one.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • Morrisville, MO, USA
  • 03-20-06


I've enjoyed all of Lisa Scottoline's books... till I got to this one. Her character Cate believes that just because she has a nasty little habit of picking up strange men, some criminals, in bars and bedding them she shouldn't be judged to harshly even though she's a federal judge. Then her nocternal habits make the papers and the writs really hit the fan. She suddenly realizes she'd better quit, the bar hopping, not the bench... right. This character just isn't believable. She's mad at her fellow judges because they have a bad opinion of her. Would THEY be so judged if the roles were reversed? I hope so. But none of the boys of the court are at issue, they're just worried how the court will look, duh. So with the facts against her she, you guessed it, argues the law.. and wins. She's back on the bench and everyone's all smiles, except the reader. Pass on this one and hope Lisa Scottoline can bring back characters we can believe in and root for.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fast Paced, ending somewhat of a letdown

If you want an audiobook that's just for fun / entertainment this one will definitely keep you entertained. The main character, Kate, is a Federal Judge who is something of a night-owl/loose woman, something that is obviously totally inappropriate for someone of her position. At times you just want to slap her upside the head and say "you have to be smarter than that!". As you listen more you come to realize what a complete psychological mess she is. But this isn't really a psychological thriller and her bad behavior is more of a subplot in a murder mystery which turns out to be completely unrelated to her bad behavior. It's a whodunnit with a rather ho-hum ending but 95% of the book moves along at a really good pace with plenty of wit that will keep you entertained. Overall a pretty good listen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • 'Nathan
  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 03-03-10


By far one of the best reading voices ever, Barbara Rosenblat brings this story to absolute life in her reading, and gets my hands-down praise as the best reader I've enjoyed to date. The story itself in Dirty Blonde mixes Hollywood, Sex Scandal, the Circuit Court, and a Heroine you're rooting for from step one: Cate Fanti. Fanti is a newly appointed judge with a scandalous sex life that she's hoping to keep private, and ruling on a court case where the law is going to punish the victim, and let a Hollywood producer walk away with the idea - and all the mega-profit - of a police computer technician. How Scottoline manages to intertwine these two apparently unrelated stories into one whole is just phenomenal, and Fanti's fantastic sarcastic wit (delivered, I have to say again, by Barbara Rosenblat's perfect reading) is a joy to experience. Even when Fanti is making mistakes that make you cringe, you understand why she is doing what she's doing, and the supporting cast add light to - without distracting from - the main storyline throughout. Excellent work!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I'm a fan of many of Ms. Scottoline's books, both audio and written. I just could not empathize with the main character, wondering how in the earth she got to her profession by being morally weak, scatterbrained, high strung, then strong in other situations. I was thinking that I may not have listened long enough to "get it". So I kept with it, but when I was 3/4 through Part 1, I just stopped listening. I decided that if I wasn't caught up and rooting for the character by that time, I may wind up spending a few hours listening to the whole book and be disappointed. I'm too busy for that and part of the reason why I started listening to audio books. Sorry, but maybe another one of her books may rise to the occasion. I'm still too big of a fan to give up on Ms. Scottoline.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Karen
  • Hyattsville, MD, USA
  • 02-22-07

On the edge

This was a fast pace well written book. I listened without a break. Barbara Rosenblat keep you on edge the entire time.

Well worth the time to listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tom
  • Austin, TX, USA
  • 09-07-06

Don't Waste Your Time

It was one of those books that, once I put it down, I couldn't pick it back up again. Like one of the other reviewers, about the only thing interesting about the book was its title. Otherwise terrible plot, unsympathetic characters...I've liked other Scottoline books, but this was her worst.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Amber
  • Chula Vista, CA, United States
  • 05-02-06


I read some of the negative reviews of this book and I decided to give it a try anyway. There are many books that I like, but aren't very popular. I now see why this book is not too popular. It wasn't very entertaining. Even while in traffic. I did not think this book was funny. The characters had no depth. The main character is obnoxious. I love Barbara Rosenblat, but I did not care for her narration of this novel.
The only reason why I gave this book two stars instead of one is only because there was a plot. I thought the plot was dumb, but at least the author kept the book organized and I didn't get lost. Just bored.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Phoenix, AZ, USA
  • 04-02-06

Worth The Time

An outstanding way to spend about 10 hours driving! The story is captivating and not predictable! I have read at least 2 of her other books and enjoyed them both. I highly recommend this book and this author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


There are better thrillers. I hate to call it that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful