on 30 December 2011
My first reading experience of Phillip Margolin was Gone But Not Forgotten - a paperback given to me as a present in 1994. It is one which has remained in my mind as an all time favourite ever since and turned me into a firm fan of Phillip Margolin. Margolin writes legal thrillers as good as Michael Connelly writes detective novels.
After Dark, first published in 1995 and now available in the UK on Kindle, is a gritty legal thriller. Abigail Griffin is a famed prosecutor for Multnomah County District Attorney's. Married to, but separated from, a Supreme Court Justice, she becomes the prime suspect when he is found murdered.
Abbie engages Matthew Reynolds as her defense lawyer to save her from Death Row. The eccentric Reynolds is renowned for his record of preventing clients from receiving the death penalty. Working with Reynolds is Tracy Cavanaugh, fresh out of clerking for a Supreme Court Justice, now in her dream job. Tracy is an ardent defender of justice and is uncomfortable with some of the decisions and revelations in Abbie's case. She takes it upon herself to look further into it, working with Reynolds' private investigator, Barry Frame.
The result is a well paced, legal thriller and murder mystery with a touch of romance, full of well-defined and captivating characters that kept me hooked with intrigue. The only downside for me was that in the first part of the book Margolin goes quite deeply into the technicalities of the US legal system. Apart from this, the characterization was brilliant and the plot, although complex, was cleverly put together with surprising twists and turns throughout, until it eventually landed at an unpredictable dénouement.
If you like legal thrillers and murder mysteries, I can highly recommend Phillip Margolin's books. Most of them are available in paperback in the UK, but the Kindle versions are only just becoming available.