Mary DeNunzio, a lawyer with Rosatio and DeNunzio, is intense, dedicated, and very good at multi-tasking. With her own wedding approaching quickly, she takes on a new case involving a little boy with special needs. Patrick O’Brien is a 10-year-old 5th grader being raised by his grandfather, Edward O’Brien. Patrick has an aide at his school because he cannot read. He was diagnosed as being dyslexic. He has an IEP and still receives no services for his reading disability. Patrick is another child who has fallen through the cracks of the Philadelphia Public School System. Patrick is also the victim of bullying and physical abuse by his aide. However, the aide has quit the school and filed against Edward O’Brien. Patrick is a little boy who is quiet and withdrawn, loves his grandfather, watching the National History Channel, and drawing. After meeting Patrick that afternoon, Mary stops everything to get started on getting Patrick away from his current school and into a school with services for his disability. Along the way, Mary meets many caring people who work in the Child Care programs and support the many foster care children of Philadelphia. She also runs into one difficult situation after another with her fiancé Anthony, the police, and Edward’s financial advisor.
Damaged is the 4th novel in the Rosatio and DeNunzio series by New York Times best-selling author Lisa Scottoline. This is considered a legal thriller novel and the novel is well written, with the author herself being a lawyer. She was able to use her knowledge to help educate readers of services available for children in the area. She explained clearly what the services were and how they would benefit Patrick in this story. The subject of children with special needs is one that should be heard more often in stories. The subject of child abuse is hard to hear and read but is necessary to talk about. The characters draw the reader right into the story. Mary’s family is loud, boisterous, loving and very Italian! The law firm is caring and supportive. This reader, having not read any other of this series, was not quite taken by the fiancé, Anthony. Thank you Anthony for stepping up in the end. This is a great book to read, and may be read as a stand-alone story for those who haven’t read the earlier books in the series. The only downside as far as the writing technique goes was that the line editor missed some obvious errors that pulled me out of the story and slowed down my reading.
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