By Phillip Margolin


Publisher: Minotaur Books (March, 2018)
Format: Hardcover
Price: $26.99
ISBN-13: 978-1-250-11750-2

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Kindle edition: $13.99

Publisher: St. Martin's paperbacks (October 30, 2018)
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $9.99

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Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
(August, 2018)


Whisper Lake, Oregon, was a quiet, peaceful place for most of the year. Even when the tourists came to town, the crimes handled by the Hammond County Sheriff’s Department were mundane: spousal abuse, bar fights, and traffic violations. That changed when Meredith Fenner stumbled out of the woods, battered and bruised, barely alive.

Her injuries caught the attention of detectives in Portland. Two young prostitutes had been abducted and tortured, and the patterns of the wounds and burns matched Meredith’s. She was able to escape; they weren’t so lucky. Meredith told the detectives from Whisper Lake and Portland that she had been abducted from her place of work in Portland, taken to a cabin, tied up, starved, and beaten. The assailant wore dark clothing and a ski mask. The only things she knew for sure were that he was white and had a New York accent.           

Meredith was able to lead the cops to the cabin where she’d been held. Inside there was abundant evidence to support her claims. The cabin belonged to Alex Mason, a prominent attorney in Portland. He vehemently denied having anything to do with it, but the damning evidence kept piling up. It was an open and shut case, a slam dunk, case closed, end of story. Or was it?

There were other people with Mason’s particular sexual proclivities, including a corrupt cop. There were a few people who might have had other motives for wanting Mason convicted. Ruthless, hard-nosed attorneys often made enemies. Even a greedy wife or spurned lover could have a bone to pick with him.

Mason wanted the best criminal lawyer he could afford. That was Regina Barrister, whose reputation for winning the most unwinnable cases earned her the nickname “The Sorcerer.” He had hope that, despite the mountain of damning evidence, she could rescue him from Death Row. Regina asked newly-hired Robin Lockwood to be her second chair. Robin was both thrilled and terrified. Thrilled because working with Regina was her dream job; terrified because if she messed up her first case, an innocent man might die. As the case went on, she found another reason to worry. Regina was acting strangely, forgetting things she’d just been told, making mistakes at trial, but Robin seemed to be the only one noticing it.

At the same time, a diametrically different kind of person sought out Barrister’s services. Arnold Prater was a crooked cop with a reputation for beating up prostitutes. Where Mason was slick, professional, calm and well-groomed, Prater was a sweaty, foul-mouthed mess. He was accused of killing Miles Poe, a drug dealer and pimp who’d run afoul of Prater’s violent temper.  She found him distasteful and sleazy, but he was able to come up with the exorbitant retainer she asked.

In a series of bizarre events, the two cases became intertwined, making Ms. Barrister’s impossible case even more complicated. Thrills and chills abound, with a twist at the end the reader will never see coming. Phillip Margolin has another Times bestseller on his hands. Highly recommended.

Copyright 2018 Shirley Wetzel. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited. OMDB! and OMDB! logos are trademarks of Over My Dead Body!

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