Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Margolin's legal thriller, in which a killer claims that a local female prosecutor hired him to murder her husband, spent two weeks on PW's bestseller list. (June)
If Margolin's new novel of legal intrigue isn't hot stuff, a lot of readers will be disappointed; his Gone, but Not Forgotten (LJ 6/15/91) sold over a million copies. Here, a high-profile prosecutor is accused of murder.
argolin's latest is part courtroom drama, part psychological thriller, part murder mystery, and part love story. But most of all, it's a whopping good read. Young lawyer Tracy Cavanaugh has just spent a year clerking for an Oregon Supreme Court justice and is ready for the big time. She has her pick of prestigious jobs, but she chooses to work for Matthew Reynolds, an eccentric, Abe Lincolntype lawyer whose reputation is built on the fact that not one of his clients has ever received the death penalty. The first case Tracy works on with Matthew is a tragic one--Abbie Griffen, a brilliant prosecutor, is accused of killing her husband with a car bomb. Matthew, who has admired Abbie's skill in the courtroom for years, is convinced she's innocent. In fact, he thinks she's been framed by psycho Charlie Deems, a murderer Abbie put on death row years ago. Tracy is awed by Matthew's superb handling of the complex case, and she just knows he'll get Abbie off. But in the course of her background research, Tracy stumbles across information that could have shocking, maybe even lethal, consequences, and suddenly all that was right is horribly wrong as the case moves inexorably to an explosive climax that will leave readers breathless. Margolin hit the best-seller lists with "Gone but Not Forgotten" (1993), and he's sure to be back with this one.
Read an Excerpt
Abbie sat up in bed, certain she had heard a noise but unable to tell what it was. Her heart was beating so loudly, she had to take breaths to calm herself. The moon was only a sliver and the sky was pitch black. According to the clock on her nightstand, she had only been asleep for an hour and a half.
Abbie tried to identify the sound that had awakened her, but it only the waves breaking on the beach. Just as she convinced herself that she was only having a bad dream, a stair creaked and her heart raced again. Abbie had taken to carrying her handgun since the attempted break-in, but as she reached for it, she remembered that her purse was downstairs.
She had been too exhausted to change her clothes when she went to bed, so Abbie was wearing her tee shirt and panties and tossed her sneakers, socks and jeans onto the floor next to bed. She rolled onto the floor and slipped on her jeans and sneakers.
There was a deck outside the bedroom window. Abbie grabbbed the doorknob and tried to open the door quietly, but the air had warped the wood and the door stuck. Abbie pulled a little harder, afraid that the intruder would hear her if she jerked open the door. It would not move.
Another step creaked and she panicked. The second she wrenched the door open footsteps pounded up the stairs toward her room. Abbie ran onto the deck. She slammed the deck door closed to slow the intruder, then she rolled over the low deck rail just as the door to her bedroom slammed open. For a brief moment, Abbie could see the silhouette of aman in her doorway. Then she was falling through the air and slamming against hardpacked earth.
The deck door crashed against the outside wall and Abbie was up and running. A dirt trail ran between the woods and the edge of the bluff for a mile until it reached the neighbors' property. There was no fence and the trail was narrow, but Abbie streaked along it, praying she would not be followed.
A hundred yards in was a footpath that led into the woods. Abbie's brain was racing as she weighed her choices and decided her chances of survival were better in the woods, where there were more places to hide. She veered to the left and shot down the trail, then moved off it and into the woods as silently as she could.
Abbie crouched behind a tree and strained to hear the man who was chasing her. A second later, footsteps pounded by on the path. Abbie gulped air and tried to calm herself. She decided to move deeper into the woods. She would hide until daylight and hope the man would give up before then. She had almost regained her composure when she heard a sound on her right.
Adrenaline coursed through her and she bolted into the underbrush, making no effort to be quiet. Her feet churned. She surged into the woods and away from the cliff, oblivious to the pain from branches that whipped across her face and ripped her shirt. Then she was airborne. She tried to cushion her fall but her face took the brunt of it. Blinding lights flashed behind her eyes. The air was momentarily crushed from her lungs. She hugged the earth, praying she would be invisible in the dark. Almost immediately, she heard the loud crack of branches breaking and the snap of bushes as they swung back after being pushed apart.
The sound was nearby and there was no way she could run. On her right was a massive, rotting tree trunk. Abbie burrowed under it, pressing herself into the earth, hoping that the mass of the log would shield her.
Something wet fell on Abbie's face. It started to move. Tiny legs scrambled across her lips and cheek. An insect! Then another and another. Abbie desperately wanted to scream, but she was afraid the insects would crawl into her mouth. She clamped her jaws shut and took in air through her nose. Every part of her wanted to bolt, but she was sure she would die if she did.
The woods were silent. The man had stopped to reconnoiter. Abbie brought a hand to her face and brushed off the bugs. She expelled air slowly. Her heart was beating wildly in her ears and she calmed herself so she could hear.
There was cool earth against her cheek and the silhouettes of tall evergreens against the night sky. Suddenly the space between two large trees was filled by the outline of a man. His back was to her, but she was certain he would see her if he turned and looked down. Abbie pressed herself closer to the log, praying that the man would not turn. He did. Slowly. A few inches more and he would see her. Abbie felt for a rock or a thick tree limb she could use as a weapon, but her hand closed on nothing of substance. Now the man was facing the log. He started to look directly at Abbie. Then the sky lit up.