VIOLENT CRIMES by Phillip Margolin


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What the title promises is exactly what Margolin (Worthy Brown’s Daughter, 2014, etc.) delivers: another torrent of violent crimes for Oregon defense attorney Amanda Jaffe.

Christine Larson, of Masterson, Hamilton, Rickman, and Thomas, wants Amanda to defend Tom Beatty, a former Navy SEAL with PTSD who’s working as a paralegal at the firm. Harold Roux, a bully who started a bar fight with Beatty, has sworn out a complaint from his hospital bed. Amanda gets the charge dismissed without breaking a sweat, unaware that the real trouble is just beginning. Someone murders Christine, plants her body in Beatty’s place, and sends Detective Greg Nowicki, of Portland Narcotics, there on a trumped-up tip that Beatty’s selling heroin. The cops pick up Beatty, but Amanda assures him she’ll get bail for him, because she’s certain Christine was killed by Dale Masterson, Mark Hamilton, or one of the other higher-ups in the firm whose falsified financial statements Christine had been looking into. Amanda, as good as her word, springs Beatty from police custody just in time for Masterson to get murdered. The presumption of Beatty’s guilt would be overwhelming if only Dale’s son, Brandon, hadn’t been spotted running from the murder scene covered in blood. In fact, Brandon, an environmental activist bent on using his trial as a platform to broadcast his father’s misdeeds to the world, is only too eager to confess to the murder, but Amanda doesn’t believe him, and soon enough she’s gotten herself hired as his attorney even though getting him off may involve implicating Beatty, who’s also her client.

This last problem may sound like a thorny ethical dilemma, but it’s just as weightless as every other complication in this fleet, guileless, inch-deep yarn, a tale guaranteed to get you to bed in plenty of time and leave your dreams untroubled.

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-226655-2
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2015


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