Saturday, April 13, 2013
Sleight of Hand by Phillip Margolin
Sleight of Hand by Phillip Margolin, Harper Collins Publishers, $26.99 list price, hardcover.
From the publisher:
Charles Benedict—magnetic 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 much younger wife.
Ten years ago, Horace Blair fell in love with Carrie, the prosecutor during his DUI trial. After a torrid courtship, he persuaded her to marry him and to sign a prenuptial agreement guaranteeing her twenty million dollars if she remained faithful during the first ten years of their marriage. The week before their tenth anniversary, Carrie disappears, and Horace is charged with her murder. Desperate to clear his name, the millionaire hires one of D.C.'s most brilliant and ruthless defense attorneys—Charles Benedict.
Meanwhile, private investigator Dana Cutler is in the Pacific Northwest on the trail of a stolen relic, a gold scepter dating back to the Ottoman Empire. Hitting a dead end, she returns to Virginia, perplexed and disappointed—and straight into the twisting case of Horace and Carrie Blair.
It's the perfect crime, unless Dana Cutler 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.
This book starts out with what seems to be two separate, unrelated stories. Although both were interesting on their own, I kept wondering how they would come together and the first connection was made in chapter 13. From there it became even more of a "page-turner" for me as I wanted to discover how it would all end.
One story introduces us to 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.