on 16 June 2008
Pageturner (cliché), blockbuster (cliché), fastpaced (cliché)! Right. You won't get many hours sleep once you have started this one. In my opinion, the best book Pillip Margolin has ever written.
The idea of this story almost made me catch my breath, so far-fetched did it seem, when it finally hit me what was going on. I thought I was reading a really good, although nothing out of the "ordinary really good", thriller, until I realized to which extremes the author has gone with this book.
Down through the history, Kings and Presidents have been murdered. Also, as during the French Revolution in 1789, Kings and Queens have been charged with horrible crimes and executed. The latter, however, may seem a bit different and/or difficult to compare with a modern times President of the United States being under suspicion for murder.
And so cleverly has the web in this story been woven, that it takes the reader (at least it did me) until the very last pages in order to find out "who did it, and why"! In fact, I did NOT find out, but had to wait impatiently until it was all finally explained to me in great detail.
I will not reveal more of the story and spoil new readers' fun. It's simply the most terrific read. A sophisticated, fascinating, horrible fairytale for grownups. Or is it? Could something like this really happen?
The idea sounds daunting, and neither is the solution what you may be tempted to guess according to the synopsis.
Nevertheless, Mr. Margolin has written an amazing book. Buy it!!
This is a wholly plot driven book that makes for a quick, enjoyable read. Though the characters are not well-fleshed, it really doesn't matter, since it is the plot that controls. It is a contemporary thriller that will grab the reader from the start.
Brad Miller, a young attorney from a prestigious law firm, is assigned a pro bono writ of habeas corpus to handle for Clarence Little, a convicted serial killer. It seems that the convicted killer is challenging a death sentence that he received in Oregon, while the current President of the United States, Christopher Farrington, was governor of Oregon. The murder victim was the daughter of the President's personal secretary when he was governor. Clarence Little now claims that he was framed for that one murder.
Meanwhile, a former police officer and private detective, Dana Cutler, is hired to follow Charlotte Walsh, a pretty college student, for a client that wishes to remain anonymous. To her surprise, Charlotte has a clandestine meeting with none other than the President himself, Christopher Farrington. When Charlotte turns up dead the morning after, Dana realizes that she now has some cause for personal concern.
When Brad and Dana discover that each of their cases is linked, they join forces. They have to be pretty quick to stay one step ahead of the killer that is now in hot pursuit of them. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the killer is someone who has access to the highest Office in the land. Although the reader will probably be able to ascertain who the killer is, the reader will definitely enjoy putting the pieces together of this entertaining thriller.
on 30 December 2008
What if the President of the United States was a serial killer? This is a possibility offered throughout this book as three separate people, finding themselves involved in some killings, slowly unpack events and discover a trail that leads to the White House. The three are Dana Cutler, a former cop who now works as a PI; Brad Miller, a young lawyer and Keith Evans, an FBI investigator. The story runs as we see each of these three working, unknown to each other, in parallel areas.
When a young woman is killed and Dana has photographic evidence that she was with the President just before her death, Dana's life is immediately at risk as she comes under attack. But Dana is a resourceful woman whose history means that she won't allow herself to be captured and she goes on the run. At the same time Brad Miller is tasked to check on a pro bono case where a serial killer claims one of the murders laid at his door was committed by someone else; when Brad investigates he believes there is some truth to the case, especially when he sees the similarity between the death of the young girl in that case as she also knew the President whilst he was governor. Keith Evans is initially investigating a set of serial killings but when he catches the perpetrator he realises one of the killings is probably a copycat and he begins to follow the trail to the White House.
This was an enjoyable book with events moving quickly and with a couple of gentle romances thrown in. The story was billed as having a lot of twists and turns in it but I found it a fairly straightforward read with the twist at the end one that I expected and had already guessed. Phillip Margolin is stronger on procedure and action than characterisation and I did feel that thinks all tied up a bit more neatly than would probably be the case in real life, but it was an enjoyable story and did give some interesting food for thought.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2008
on 11 July 2013
I have read a few Margolin books and enjoyed them all. This is not his best effort but is certainly an engaging read.
For me, there was a bit of David Baldacci about the novel with the high-level corruption and yet some good agency types fighting for the good.
The plot was OK and the pacing was excellent, with the reader's interest aroused from the outset. There weren't any real twists and turns, one major one excepted, although some of our brighter readers will pick it - yours truly didn't until pretty late though! There were a lot of likeable characters but none were really developed fully in this outing, although I suspect there will be sequels.
In short, a good novel, with a great deal of pace. Not an outstanding effort perhaps, but one which most crime fiction readers will enjoy.