Book Review: Sleight of Hand – By: Phillip Margolin

Welcome to Review Friday

Book Reviews from an Authors Perspective.



 By: Phillip Margolin

Book Details:

  • Published: 2013
  • ISBN:978-0-06-206991-7
  • Hardback
  • 312 Pages
  • SRP: USA $26.99
  • A Novel of Suspense
  • Joes Rating 4 out of 5 Stars

Sleight of Hand is the second book by Phillip Margolin I have read. The first, Woman with a Gun, I reviewed back in February.

Charles Benedict is an unscrupulous lawyer with a high IQ and an amateur illusionist. Most of his clients come to him via the Russian mob. Benedict is magical in the court room a good criminal lawyer. However things get weird when he ‘s on a case,  key witnesses  disappear into what seems like thin air, evidence tampered with or missing, and other strange happenings that allow his client to walk free. Charles Benedict has many adversaries in the courtroom, from the judge to Carrie Blair, prosecutor for the common wealth. Carrie, shunned by many due to her wealth, but she loves her job, and not her husband Horace, who has the money. Horace Blair is beyond rich and a powerful man in the business world with connections in state and federal government. Horace is older than Carrie, if you see them together you would think she is his daughter, but that didn’t matter, he fell head over hills for Carrie in court, and swooned her from the witness stand. The two married , of course not before the pre-nup was signed. Carrie had a good job and could stand on her two feet, the pre-nup, she didn’t care for. Horace insisted so she added her own little clause to it. Carrie would receive two million a year for each year of marriage, payable after ten years, if in that time she stayed faithful to Horace and tells no one about the agreement. Horace and Blair’s tenth anniversary was upon them, only days away. Carrie gets caught in a compromising position and suspects she was photographed coming out of Charles Benedict’s apartment one morning, nothing had happened, so he said, but the miss understanding could cost her twenty million bucks. Carrie disappears before the payout, Horace isn’t concerned until the local authorities show up at his door. Dana Cutler an ex-police detective, now a private investigator, has mental issues of her own. While infiltrating a biker gang her cover was blown, their payback was to hold her captive, gang raping her day after day. Her payback, priceless, she got her revenge but the trauma left her unstable and she loses it when threatened by a men. Dana returned from a wild goose chase that bought up questions. Who had paid her twenty-five thousand dollars to look for something that didn’t exist? Then there was the question of Carrie Blair’s disappearance, had she been murdered, if so by who, her husband? Will Horace hire Benedict if charged with his wife’s death? What about the other bodies that keep turning up with the same MO, is there a Psychopath on the loose? What could be the KEY, to this mess that has everyone scratching their heads.

Phillip Margolin uses the above characters and more in this suspense novel that’s action pack and full of turns. All the questions are answered in this story that flows well, is fast paced, with believable characters, making you pull for some and hate the others. The ending, well I’ll just say you gotta read the book.

Phillip Margolin is becoming my favorite author, his work is outstanding. With each book I read not only do I get a great story that I can lose myself in, I learn something about the craft of writing. Sleight of Hand showed me by example the following.

  •  Cover Art is important: Once again Phillip Margolin’s cover is appealing, and full of clues of what the book is about. Remember your cover makes the first impression, don’t blow it. Phillip Margolin has some of the best I’ve seen.
  • Point of view: Dana the private detective, in disguise, leaves the apartment of Tiffany Starr, a stripper, after questioning her. Once the door closes, the point of view changes from Dana to Tiffany. No new chapter, or paragraph heading, he added more white space to tell the reader of the change. He also does this when an amount of time has passed from one paragraph to the next.
  • Character Names: Some people so they are not important, I disagree and try to give my characters names that suit them, not stereo typing but you want a Joe to act like a Joe, not like an Alan. Prime example, when you read Tiffany Starr above you determined she was a stripper or porn star before I told you. There’s something to say about a strong character name.
  • Thesaurus: Never write a word without one. Phillip Margolin used the word ‘seethe’ means to boil or stew. A writer’s job is to show and not tell, one of the hardest things for many of us newbies to grasp, difficult to do that using the same words over and over.

Joe Clay is a new author, check his work out on his Website, Smashwords and Kindle. Joe can also be found on Goodreads where he answers questions every Friday. To see what Joe is working on visit WIP.


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