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A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH by Phillip Margolin


by Phillip Margolin

Pub Date: March 9th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-2502-5842-7
Publisher: Minotaur

Portland attorney Robin Lockwood takes on the defense of a homeless boxer who’s been framed but good for murder.

Joe Lattimore has a bad feeling about allowing himself to be drafted into an illegal no-holds-barred fight, but the $300 he’s offered would settle his wife and baby daughter in a motel room for a few nights while he looks for work. Things go from bad to worse when he apparently kills the man he’s fighting and agrees to burgle a stranger’s home as his price for the recording of the fight. Inside, Joe finds the corpse of Elizabeth Carasco, the wealthy wife of Judge Anthony Carasco, whose life has changed in dramatic ways ever since he was picked up by escort Stacey Hayes. Joe swears he’s innocent, but the cops have his fingerprints inside the house and a pair of witnesses, one of them Judge Carasco, who saw a man who looks a lot like him fleeing the scene shortly after the murder. It’s an ideal case for Robin, who’s not only a dab hand in the courtroom, but a former mixed martial arts warrior who, in a rare dead end, expresses an interest in returning to the ring undercover in order to expose the culprits who arranged the illegal fights and a whole lot more felonies. Margolin keeps the story steadily absorbing, replacing whatever surprises you might have expected with new revelations of the plotters’ ever more violent and treacherous behavior that make you nod with appreciation. Everything purrs along until one character too many gets killed and Robin suddenly finds herself wrestling with a genuine whodunit.

“I feel like I’m in a movie sequel,” the presiding judge observes, but there’s nothing wrong with that.