Connors, Rose 1956(?)–
Connors, Rose 1956(?)–
PERSONAL: Born c. 1956. Education: Mount St. Mary's College, B.A., 1978; Duke University School of Law, J.D., 1984.
ADDRESSES: Home—Chatham, MA. Agent—Nancy Yost, Lowenstein Yost Associates, 121 W. 27th St., Ste. 601, New York, NY 10010.
CAREER: Author and lawyer. Trial attorney in MA, 1984–.
MEMBER: Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
AWARDS, HONORS: Mary Higgins Clark Award, c. 2002, for Absolute Certainty.
"MARTHA NICKERSON" NOVEL SERIES
Absolute Certainty, Scribner (New York, NY), 2002.
Temporary Sanity, Scribner (New York, NY), 2003.
Maximum Security, Scribner (New York, NY), 2004.
False Testimony, Scribner (New York, NY), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Another novel in the "Martha Nickerson" series.
SIDELIGHTS: Attorney and author Rose Connors made a successful fiction debut with her 2002 novel Absolute Certainty, a courtroom drama that won the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Since then she has added several other tales to this series featuring the plucky defense lawyer Martha "Marty" Nickerson. Set on Cape Cod, these novels also deal with Marty's partner in law and in life, Harry Madigan. Together, the pair excels at both amateur detective work and courtroom pyrotechnics. Reviewing the author's 2005 addition to the series, False Testimony, a critic for Kirkus Reviews observed: "Connors continues to be one of the most entertaining writers on the courthouse circuit."
In Absolute Certainty Connors introduces her attorney protagonist, at the time an assistant district attorney. Marty Nickerson has just won the conviction of a man for murdering a college student, but her celebration is short-lived when the following day the body of another student is found. While the local authorities want to play down the similarities in the crimes, Marty is not convinced, and begins to investigate, aided by Harry Madigan, the public defender of the convicted man. In doing so, she also risks her career. Booklist reviewer Sue O'Brien found Absolute Certainty both an "engrossing courtroom drama" and a "satisfying, often poignant debut novel." A contributor for Kirkus Reviews was less impressed, dubbing the mystery aspect of the book "folderol," but at the same time praising "Connors's strong sense of pace and skeptical reflec-tions about the morality of the legal system." Higher praise came from a Publishers Weekly contributor who felt that Connors's "first novel offers sleek, straightforward entertainment."
Connors's second novel in the series, Temporary Sanity, finds Marty no longer with the district attorney's office. She has now become a defense attorney, partnering with Harry Madigan, In this installment, Marty is dealing with two separate murder cases. In the first she is presented with the seemingly impossible task of defending Buck Hammond, who is caught on television in the act of shooting the man who raped and killed Hammond's young son. The second case involves the murder of an abusive boyfriend and parole officer. In both of these, Marty uses as a partial defense the fact that both victims deserved what they got. Her temporary-insanity plea for Hammond seems to be going over well with the judge in that case, but when the judge is assaulted and replaced by another, things go decidedly bad for Marty until she finds a common thread linking these acts of violence. This second installment earned positive critical assessments. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews felt that the novel "moves [Connors] up to the big time." The same critic concluded, "For fans of legal intrigue … it doesn't get any better than this." O'Brien, writing in Booklist, praised Connors's narration for its "touches of humor," as well as its "explanations of the laws involved." Leslie Madden, reviewing the same work in Library Journal, noted that it "features strong, likable characters and clean writing." Similarly, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly concluded that "this excellent sophomore effort should help [Connors] build name recognition."
The third novel in the "Martha Nickerson" series, Maximum Security, deals with another murder, that of wealthy Herbert Rawlings. Police think the man's widow, Louisa, did it, and Harry convinces Marty to take the case. He cannot defend Louisa himself, as he had a relationship with her long ago in law school. That affair fell apart when Louisa realized Harry was headed for the low-paying realms of public defender; her continuing greed now presents a clear motive in the killing. Marty reluctantly takes on the case and enlists the firm's newest member, Kevin Kydd, to help gather evidence. Kydd, however, ends up in Louisa's bed, and suddenly the firm is compromised, as well. Marty needs to find a likelier candidate for the killing, such as the dead man's daughter or her boyfriend. This third outing earned a cooler critical reception than Connors's other efforts. A critic for Kirkus Reviews called it a "fast-moving, deeply ordinary case," that is obviously a "breather" for the author. O'Brien also had mixed sentiments in her Booklist review, noting that while it is an "enjoyable legal thriller," the "whodunit aspects" do not add up to much.
False Testimony, fourth in the series, offers two more cases for Marty and Harry to tackle. One involves a missing female staff worker for a Massachusetts senator with presidential aspirations, and the second deals with the murder of a local Catholic priest by a young ex-convict. The man's defense is that the priest made sexual advances to him. While Harry takes on the defense of the ex-con, Marty finds herself in deep water when the body of the missing staffer washes up near the senator's home and allegations and gossip of sexual misconduct run rampant. A contributor for Publishers Weekly called this installment "another excellent, fast-moving courtroom drama headed by a plucky, energetic heroine."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, July, 2002, Sue O'Brien, review of Absolute Certainty, p. 1824; May 15, 2003, Sue O'Brien, review of Temporary Sanity, p. 1648; August, 2004, Sue O'Brien, review of Maximum Security, p. 1904.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2002, review of Absolute Certainty, p. 973; June 1, 2003, review of Temporary Sanity, p. 768; June 15, 2004, review of Maximum Security, p. 549; May 15, 2005, review of False Testimony, p. 556.
Library Journal, May 15, 2003, Leslie Madden, review of Temporary Sanity, p. 122.
Publishers Weekly, July 22, 2002, review of Absolute Certainty, p. 162; June 16, 2003, review of Temporary Sanity, p. 50; June 6, 2005, review of False Testimony, p. 38.
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (September 13, 2004), Harriet Klausner, review of Absolute Certainty, Maximum Security, and Temporary Sanity.
BookBrowser, http://www.bookbrowser.com/ (June 14, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of Absolute Certainty.
Book Loons, http://www.bookloons.com/ (October 5, 2005), G. Hall, review of Absolute Certainty; Mary Ann Smith, review of Temporary Sanity.
Mystery Reader, http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (October 5, 2005), review of Maximum Security.
Romance Junkies, http://www.romancejunkies.com/ (October 5, 2005), Tammy Kelley, review of Maximum Security.
Romantic Times Book Club Web site, http://www.romantictimes.com/ (September 13, 2004), Toby Bromberg, review of Absolute Certainty.
Shots Online, http://www.shotsmag.co.uk/ (October 31, 2005), John Escott, review of Temporary Sanity.