Sleight of Hand (Dana Cutler) Mass Market Paperback – 31 Dec 2013
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"Phillip Margolin's best book in years. Deception is prominent, and the villain is truly vile....A magician never reveals his secrets, and like the best prestidigitators, Margolin manipulates readers into believing one thing, then reveals the surprising truth.."--Associated Press
Phillip Margolin s best book in years. Deception is prominent, and the villain is truly vile. A magician never reveals his secrets, and like the best prestidigitators, Margolin manipulates readers into believing one thing, then reveals the surprising truth.. --Associated Press"
From the Back Cover
Charles Benedict criminal defense lawyer, amateur illusionist, and professional hit man and private investigator Dana Cutler are on a collision course set in motion by Benedict's greatest sleight of hand yet: framing a millionaire for the murder of his wife.
Ten years ago, Horace Blair persuaded Carrie, the prosecutor during his DUI trial, to marry him and sign a prenuptial agreement guaranteeing her twenty million dollars if she remained faithful during the first decade of their marriage. Just before their tenth anniversary, Carrie disappears, and Horace is charged with her murder. He hires Charles Benedict one of D.C.'s most brilliant and ruthless defense attorneys.
Hitting a dead end on the case she was working on in the Pacific Northwest, private investigator Dana Cutler returns to Virginia and straight into the Carrie Blair murder investigation. It's the perfect crime, unless Dana can conjure a few tricks of her own to take down a cunning psychopath and expose his diabolical plot before he can work his deadly magic on her."See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
As for the story itself, Margolin begins this latest action packed tour de force with a contract murder, proceeds to a case of date rape resulting in a second murder, and builds from there. I am not giving anything away here since these acts are the foundation of the story and one knows from the outset who committed all of these heinous crimes. It's the how's and why's that follow that put an amoral lawyer with a penchant for money and murder and Dana Cutler, the shrewd female investigator involved in a search for a priceless gold scepter, on a collision course.
Since the average individual often envisions lawyers as selfish, unethical and unscrupulous bottom feeders who would do anything in the name of self-interest, Phillip Margolin has lent his own spin to this perception by creating for us Charles Benedict, a criminal defense lawyer and amateur magician who supplements his income by acting as a professional hit man and who, by utilizing his magicians aptitude for diverting attention from one thing and focusing it on another, manages to elude detection.
This latest installment in the Dana Cutler P.I. series is a tale filled with engaging characters, multiple well plotted storylines, in addition to intriguing diversions and plot twists designed to keep you involved and absorbed all the way to the final resolution.
From the opening pages to a couldn't possibly-guess finish we're treated to one of the most exciting, fast-moving legal thrillers to be found. We meet Charles Benedict, charismatic defense attorney, amateur magician and sinister hit man. Although not a power player among Washington's wealthiest and most influential he still commands attention when he enters a room with his movie star good looks and the easily imaginable "field of force emanating from him." He's thought of as brilliant but there's a little something off about the cases he wins - evidence and witnesses have an inconvenient way of vanishing.
However, this time out Benedict may need every trick up his sleeve to frame a zillionaire for the murder of his younger wife. Almost a decade ago the wife, Carrie, signed a pre-nup agreement that would gross her 20 million dollars if she remained faithful to Horace Blair for the first ten years of their marriage.
At about the same time we again meet Dana Cutler, the sharp private investigator from several of Margolin's previous works. She's hired by a mysterious woman with a French accent who offers more money than Dana cares to turn down to find a stolen gold scepter dating from the Ottoman Empire.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Sleight of Hand centers around Dana Cutler (for the 4th time), who is a private investigator in D.C. She gets involved in a very bizarre case involving a multi-millionaire businessman, his wife who is a federal prosecutor, and a well-known criminal defense attorney who dabbles in magic and illusions. 10 years earlier, Horace (the rich guy) actually confesses in court to a DUI so that he can get close to Carrie (the federal prosecutor). They end up getting married, and Horace has Carrie sign a pre-nup that says she will get 20 million dollars if she stays faithful to him for 10 years. The week before the 10-year anniversary, Carrie disappears. Charles (the criminal defense attorney) becomes very involved in ALL aspects of this case. Add in a royal scepter from the Ottoman Empire, and you've got a lot of story in a fairly short book (309 pages in the ARC - advanced reader's copy - with big print and only 30 lines per full page). I thought some of his details were a little far-fetched. But he took a complicated plot and held it together pretty well.
As I said, I liked this book. It's not one of his better ones, but you won't be disappointed. Not every book can make "the best of..." list. In fact, I'm sure that Margolin will be plenty happy if it makes the New York Times Bestseller List. That will, very likely, get him over the bitter disappointment of receiving just a 3.0 from The Book Sage.
One story involves Dana Cutler, a private investigator hired to track down a stolen relic that turns out to be a dead end. She returns to Virginia only to become involved in the second story that involves the murder of Carrie Blair days before she would receive millions of dollars from her husband Horace according to the terms of their prenuptual agreement and he is charged with her murder. In a series of twists and turns, the two seemingly unrelated incidences develop a common thread and Dana finds herself facing a powerful enemy: Horace Blair's defense attorney Charles Benedict. Dana uncovers evidence that Horace may have been framed for the murder, but Benedict blocks her attempts to get the answers she needs. Soon she becomes a target of the real killer as she pursues truth.
This is the first book I've read by this author and was impressed with his ability to take multiple storylines and complex characters and bring them together in a way that held got and held my attention. The only negative for me was some of the language used, but the plot itself and how it all unfolded was everything I want in a good suspense novel.
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher but the opinion of it is my own and was not solicited, nor was a positive review required.
"You do know about the gold, jewel-encrusted scepter Sultan Mehmet II gave to Gennadius after the fall of Constantinople when Gennadius agreed to be the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church?"
In keeping with the tendency towards superficiality, none of the relationships between characters are developed, and I think there's only one male character who doesn't have black slicked-back hair, usually dyed, sometimes expertly, sometimes badly.
Fortunately, after rapidly dispensing with the entire set up to the story, Margolin shifts gears and begins fleshing things out, actually telling the story rather than offering a bulletted powerpoint.
Like the other Margolin mysteries I read, this one has an inordinate number of references to women being raped or otherwise sexually degraded, which always seems kind of cheap.