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Proof Positive (Amanda Jaffe Series) Mass Market Paperback – 26 Jul 2012


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (26 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060735066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060735067
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.6 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 897,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

“The author .... ties the many plot lines together with enough clever twists to satisfy faithful fans and newcomers.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A fast-moving plot … The increasing popularity [of] CSI ... virtually guarantees this novel a wide and appreciative audience.” (Booklist)

“Briskly paced, cleverly plotted, long-overdue switch on all those heroic forensic guys.” (Kirkus Reviews)

About the Author

Phillip Margolin has written eighteen novels, many of them New York Times bestsellers, including the recent Worthy Brown's Daughter, Sleight of Hand, and the Washington Trilogy. Each displays a unique, compelling insider's view of criminal behavior, which comes from his long background as a criminal defense attorney who has handled thirty murder cases. Winner of the Distinguished Northwest Writer Award, he lives in Portland, Oregon.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 July 2006
Format: Hardcover
Fans of forensic fiction, don't miss this one. With his 12th novel and the third featuring Portland attorney Amanda Jaffe, former criminal defense attorney Phillip Margolin paints a suspenseful, disturbing picture of what can happen to crime scene evidence.

With a narrative episodic in nature Margolin captures readers at the outset and holds them in thrall until the final page. Defense attorney Doug Weaver isn't having a particularly good day. He has had to witness death by lethal injection of one of his clients, Raymond Hayes. Accused of killing his widowed mother, it doesn't take the jury long to exact the death penalty. Doug believes in his client's innocence, and feels he messed up the defense. Seeing Raymond put to death is more than he can handle.

This same death is a time for jubilation for crime scene investigator Bernard Cashman. Receiving a telephone call notifying him of the death and thanking him for his testimony "that nailed Hayes" made Cashman's chest swell with pride. This was, indeed, an occasion, his testimony had now put three men on death row, and he kept a scrapbook of his achievements. To celebrate he "uncorked a bottle of La Grande Dame 1979" and then prepared a blini spread with banned Caspian Sea beluga caviar.

Next, we're introduced to Vincent Ballard, a junkie, who supports his habit by spying for Portland drug lord, Martin Breach. When Ballard is found dead, Cashman is one of the first on the police protected scene. Attorney Frank Jaffe owes Breach, so he doesn't hesitate to defend one of Breach's men who is accused of the junkie's murder.

Doug Weaver's luck seems to improve when he frees Jacob Cohen, a homeless evidently delusional man, who has been charged with failing to register as a sex offender.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie on 23 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
Fans of the TV series "CSI," where the characters use cutting-edge forensic tools to examine evidence to solve murder cases, will definitely enjoy Phillip Margolin's latest thriller, "Proof Positive." Here the devil is in the forensic details....quite literally.

Bernard Cashman, a respected forensic expert who works for the Oregon State Crime Laboratory, has set himself up as judge and jury in certain criminal cases where he has been the lead crime scene investigator. Cashman, with almost godlike power, has manipulated critical evidence to send innocent people suspected of heinous crimes to jail and, at times, to their state sanctioned deaths.

Jacob Cohen, a mentally ill homeless man with a prior rape conviction stands accused of brutally murdering a woman. His lawyer, Doug Weaver, is convinced his client is innocent. Confused by evidence that just doesn't add up, he consults Amanda Jaffe, a successful defense attorney who is a partner in her father Frank Jaffe's law firm.

Frank Jaffe, whose clients include major mob figures, is presently working on a seemingly unrelated case. Vicious gangster Art Prochaska is accused of murdering an informer. Clued-in by some remarks her father made while discussing his case, Amanda begins to closely examine the seemingly airtight evidence submitted in both cases. She finds unsettling discrepancies. And when a fellow crime scene investigator approaches Dr. Cashman with major concerns about past cases, people begin to die - Bigtime!

This is Ms. Jaffe's third appearance in a Margolin crime thriller, and while she makes a credible heroine, she is not the strongest of characters. She serves the purpose of competent investigator, but I would not read a Margolin mystery just because it features Amanda Jaffe.
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By Karen on 11 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
excellent read cannot put it down
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By Ronnie3657 on 14 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
enjoyed
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 62 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
When forensic experts go bad... 3 July 2006
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
So what happens when a forensics expert decides to become the judge and jury instead of just reporting the facts? That's the premise of Phillip Margolin's latest novel, Proof Positive. Definitely makes you think...

A homeless person, suffering from mental issues, is accused of a rather gruesome murder that nearly appears to be an open-and-shut case. His attorney has that small voice that says she believes that he didn't do it, but the evidence is overwhelming. Meanwhile, her father is defending a crime boss's muscle who's been accused of murdering a junkie tied to a rival. Again, the evidence points directly to the accused, but there's still the insistence that he didn't do it. When they start comparing notes and poking at the few open issues, they discover a common thread... the same forensic expert for the State is involved in all the cases. When an additional lawyer brings in a case that bears the same characteristics, the pressure starts to build and people start dying to cover up the truth... whatever it may be.

I like Margolin's writing a lot... The pacing in Proof was good, and the premise was a bit different than stories I've read of late. What *would* happen if a criminologist went bad and started determining who should and shouldn't be innocent or guilty? I'll also confess to a certain bias towards his novels because they are all set in my home town of Portland Oregon. Reading a story and visualizing each location exactly as it exists always adds an element of enjoyment for me...

A great summer read, and one that should appeal to anyone who is hooked on the CSI-style shows currently in vogue on network TV.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
The Devil Is In The Details! 1 July 2006
By Jana L. Perskie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Fans of the TV series "CSI," where the characters use cutting-edge forensic tools to examine evidence to solve murder cases, will definitely enjoy Phillip Margolin's latest thriller, "Proof Positive." Here the devil is in the forensic details....quite literally.

Bernard Cashman, a respected forensic expert who works for the Oregon State Crime Laboratory, has set himself up as judge and jury in certain criminal cases where he has been the lead crime scene investigator. Cashman, with almost godlike power, has manipulated critical evidence to send innocent people suspected of heinous crimes to jail and, at times, to their state sanctioned deaths.

Jacob Cohen, a mentally ill homeless man with a prior rape conviction stands accused of brutally murdering a woman. His lawyer, Doug Weaver, is convinced his client is innocent. Confused by evidence that just doesn't add up, he consults Amanda Jaffe, a successful defense attorney who is a partner in her father Frank Jaffe's law firm.

Frank Jaffe, whose clients include major mob figures, is presently working on a seemingly unrelated case. Vicious gangster Art Prochaska is accused of murdering an informer. Clued-in by some remarks her father made while discussing his case, Amanda begins to closely examine the seemingly airtight evidence submitted in both cases. She finds unsettling discrepancies. And when a fellow crime scene investigator approaches Dr. Cashman with major concerns about past cases, people begin to die - Bigtime!

This is Ms. Jaffe's third appearance in a Margolin crime thriller, and while she makes a credible heroine, she is not the strongest of characters. She serves the purpose of competent investigator, but I would not read a Margolin mystery just because it features Amanda Jaffe. There are authors whose characters are so developed and appealing that I would and do read their series novels on the strength of the lead personae they create, i.e., Andrew Vachss "Burke," and Peter Robinson's Detective Chief Inspector Banks.

However, this is a legal thriller that provides a riveting and entertaining read - even though the reader knows whodunit almost from the beginning. The author, Phillip Margolin, worked for 25 years as a criminal defense attorney, representing 30 homicide cases, 12 of which involved the death penalty. His knowledge of the subject, as well as his psychological portraits, make for a rich narrative.
JANA
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Want to make a difference in the world? 26 Jan. 2008
By Judy K. Polhemus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
You have finished a year of college. You don't like the introductory course in your major. You decide you want to make a difference in the world, so you change your major to forensic science. The rewarding career of a crime scene investigator gives you the opportunity to do things in the lab undetected, to point guilt in a definite direction.

Enter Bernard Cushman, forensic scientist for Oregon State Crime Lab, a place where a fingerprint can mean the difference in life or death. This is no spoiler, as Phillip Margolin shows early in the novel that something is not quite right about Cushman. The reader's introduction comes after the execution of one of four men his forensic science put on death row. He celebrates with champagne and caviar. "He wished others were here to celebrate with him, but he knew many people would find his celebration inappropriate, peculiar, or both" (14).

Margolin uses the omniscient viewpoint of entering every character whose thought processes are revealed. One way of writing a thriller is to write omnisciently, keeping the reader current with all hidden stuff, knowing what each character's connection with it is as it happens. The other way allows the reader to follow the story through the viewpoint of only the main character, usually the detective or surgeon or criminalist, allowing the reader to learn information only as the character finds it. Margolin mostly does a good job with the former technique, but halfway through the novel, it does become wearing. First, character in dialog, then writer gives character's thought process behind dialog, then dialog, then thoughts, and so on.

The story has multiple characters, including two sets of attorneys working with two sets of clients. The crime lab makes the defining difference. Then inexplicable murders begin, coicidental and not. The reader knows exactly what is going on and just waits for the characters to figure it out. To prevent spoilers, here's what happens in generic terms. Crime scene evidence shows up. Suspects are arrested, but not the right ones. Trial dates arrive. Finally, someone figures out what is going on. Revelation. Trial. Arrest. Terror.

This thriller is recommended.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Forensic fake. 27 Jun. 2006
By E. Bukowsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In the opening scene of Philip Margolin's "Proof Positive," a depressed criminal defense attorney named Doug Weaver reluctantly witnesses the execution of his client, Raymond Hayes, at the Oregon State Penitentiary. Although Weaver believes that Hayes committed the crime that put him on death row, the lawyer still feels guilty for not having saved him. Little does Weaver know that Bernie Cashman, a respected forensic scientist at the Oregon State Crime Lab, falsified physical evidence to make sure that Hayes would be convicted. Cashman is a slimy villain. He pretends to be a competent professional, but underneath his dignified veneer, Cashman is a psychopath who takes the law into his own hands, with catastrophic results.

Frank Jaffe is a criminal defense attorney who numbers among his clients some vicious mobsters, but he believes that even violent thugs deserve their day in court. Frank takes the case of Art Prochaska, a gangster who is accused of murdering a junkie informer. A beer can with Art's fingerprint is found at the crime scene, and when further forensic evidence comes to light that implicates Prochaska, things look bleak for Frank's client. As Cashman becomes more and more confident that he can manipulate evidence with impunity, he takes even greater risks, until one of his colleagues unwisely confronts him with her suspicions. Frank's daughter, Amanda Jaffe, who is an attorney in her father's law firm, soon suspects that Bernie Cashman may not be the righteous person that he pretends to be, and she decides to bring the forensic fake to justice.

Margolin's details about police procedure and evidence-gathering add to the book's realism. The courtroom scenes are lively, and there is a large and varied cast of characters, including a crooked cop, a homeless man with a religious fetish, an ambitious barracuda of a female prosecutor, and an honest and good-natured district attorney named Mike Greene who is love with Amanda. The author effectively demonstrates just how easy it is for an immoral insider to pervert the criminal justice system. "Proof Positive" is a violent and unnerving novel with elegant twists and turns, thrilling confrontations, and spine-tingling suspense.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Well-written thriller 12 Aug. 2007
By mrliteral - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With three successful CSI shows on the air as well as a bunch of other police procedurals (e.g., Law and Order), it often seems that every crime, no matter how perfect on the surface, always leaves telltale clues that good science can pick up. Of course, the key word in that sentence is "good"; if the science is bad, or - as in the case of Phillip Margolin's Proof Positive - the scientist is bad, then it falls apart.

Proof Positive begins with the execution of Raymond Hayes for a murder he swears he didn't commit. His lawyer, Doug Weaver, had encouraged him to plead guilty based on the seemingly incontrovertible evidence of a fingerprint on the murder weapon. Hayes's execution haunts Weaver, who wonders if he could have done anything different.

The fingerprint evidence, however, came from Bernard Cashman, a forensics specialist who isn't above forging evidence to get what he considers justice. When his assistant catches on that there is something suspicious in his work, he opts to kill her, cleverly framing a schizophrenic man who happens to be another of Weaver's clients. Meanwhile, recurring character Amanda Jaffe is working with her father on a murder case for a mobster whose proof of guilt also relies on a fingerprint which was also found by Cashman.

Margolin is in top form with this novel, which is a real page-turner. Admittedly, there aren't lots of plot twists, but the relative straightforwardness of the story doesn't interfere with its entertainment value. If you're into thrillers, this should be added to your reading list.
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