Executive Privilege

Executive Privilege

4.0 591
by Phillip Margolin

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"When private detective Dana Cutler is hired by an attorney with powerful political connections, the assignment seems simple enough: follow a pretty college student named Charlotte Walsh and report on where she goes and whom she sees. But then the unexpected happens. One night, Cutler follows Walsh to a secret meeting with Christopher Farrington, the president of…  See more details below


"When private detective Dana Cutler is hired by an attorney with powerful political connections, the assignment seems simple enough: follow a pretty college student named Charlotte Walsh and report on where she goes and whom she sees. But then the unexpected happens. One night, Cutler follows Walsh to a secret meeting with Christopher Farrington, the president of the United States. The following morning, Walsh's dead body shows up and Cutler has to run for her life." In Oregon, Brad Miller, a junior associate in a huge law firm is working on the appeal of a convicted serial killer. Clarence Little, now on death row, claims he was framed for the murder of a teenager who, at the time of her death, worked for the then governor, Christopher Farrington. Suddenly, a small-time private eye and a fledgling lawyer find themselves in possession of evidence that suggests that someone in the White House is a murderer. Their only problem? Staying alive long enough to prove it.

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Editorial Reviews

To private detective Dana Cutler, her latest assignment almost seems like child's play. She has been hired by an attorney to tail college student Charlotte Walsh on her daily rounds. Everything moves along predictably, until one night the pretty young miss scurries off to a very private meeting with the president of the United States. And to make matters worse, Charlotte is found dead the next morning, transforming Cutler almost overnight from hunter into hunted. Fast-breaking, nonstop action; memorable protagonists.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Executive Privilege A Novel
By Phillip Margolin
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2008 Phillip Margolin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061236211

Chapter One

Dana Cutler's cell phone rang moments after Jake Teeny's pickup disappeared around the corner and seconds after she closed the door of Jake's house, where she was house-sitting while he was away on an assignment.

"Cutler?" a raspy voice asked as soon as Dana flipped open the phone.

"What's up, Andy?" she asked.

Andy Zipay was an ex-cop who'd left the D.C. police force under a cloud a year before Dana had resigned for far different reasons. Dana had been one of the few cops who hadn't shunned Zipay, and she'd sent business his way when he'd set up shop as a private investigator. Six months after her release from the hospital, Dana had told him that she wouldn't mind working private if he had some overflow and the jobs were quiet. Zipay gave her assignments when he could, and she appreciated the fact that he had never asked her what had happened at the farm.

"You up for another job for Dale Perry?"

"Perry's a pig."

"True, but he liked the last job you did for him and he pays well."

"What's the deal?"

"A tail. It sounds like easy money. He needs someone right away and I have a full plate. You in or out?"

Dana's bank account needed an infusion of cash. She sighed.

"Does he want me to come to his office?"

"No." Zipay told her where to go.

"You're kidding?"

Itwas two in the morning when Dana eased Jake Teeny's Harley into a parking space in front of a twenty-four-hour pancake joint in suburban Maryland. She was wearing a black leather jacket, a black T-shirt, and tight jeans, an outfit that made her look tough. Even without the Harley and the outfit as props, people would back off instinctively in Dana's presence. She was a hard twenty-nine, five ten, lean and muscular, and she always seemed on edge. The intensity in her emerald green eyes was intimidating.

Before entering the Pancake House, Dana removed her helmet and shook out her shoulder-length auburn hair. As soon as she stepped through the door, she spotted Dale Perry in the rear of the restaurant. She ignored the hostess and headed to his booth. The lawyer was in his late forties, short, overweight, balding, and working on his third divorce. His fat face reminded Dana of a bulldog, but she was certain that Perry didn't see what others saw when he looked in the mirror, because he came on to every halfway attractive woman he met. Perry had made a pass at her the last time she'd done a job for him. She'd deflected it deftly and had even dropped hints that she was a lesbian to dissuade him, but that only seemed to create a challenge for the lascivious lawyer.

Dana rarely smiled, but her lips momentarily curled upward in amusement when she considered the spot that Dale Perry had selected for their meeting and the way he was dressed. Perry, a senior partner in a big D.C. firm, was a close friend of the president and very influential behind the scenes in national politics. He was the type who dressed in three-thousand-dollar power suits and conducted business in the bar at the Hay-Adams hotel, where Washington's power brokers decided the fate of the world while sipping twenty-five-year-old, single malt scotch. Tonight, the lawyer was cradling a chipped mug filled with bad Pancake House coffee and wearing jeans, a Washington Redskins jacket, dark glasses, and a Washington Nationals baseball cap with the brim pulled low.

"Qué pasa?" Dana asked as she slipped into the booth across from Perry and deposited her motorcycle helmet on the cracked vinyl.

"It's about time," Perry growled. Dana didn't react. She was used to Perry pulling rank. He was a macho pig who loved dumping on underlings. Dana didn't consider herself an underling, but there was no profit in letting Perry know how she felt. She never let her ego get in the way of making a buck.

"So, Mr. Perry, what's the problem?" Dana asked as she took off her jacket.

A waitress appeared and Dana ordered coffee. When the waitress was out of earshot, the lawyer resumed their conversation. Even though there were no other customers in their vicinity, he lowered his voice and leaned forward.

"Remember that job you did for me last year?"

"Tailing the guy who worked for the senator?"

Perry nodded.

"How'd that work out?" Dana asked.

Perry smiled. "Very nicely. I played him the tape. He threatened to sue, have me arrested, blah, blah, blah. But, in the end, he caved."

"Glad to hear it worked out."

"You do good work."

Now it was Dana's turn to nod. She did do excellent work. Private investigation suited her. She could stay in the shadows a good part of the time when she was working at jobs that Perry's firm would never assign to their in-house investigators, and the pay for assignments that weren't completely kosher was higher than most hourly wages. They were also tax free because she was always paid off the books and in cash.

The waitress returned with Dana's coffee. When she left, Perry dug into a manila envelope that was lying on the seat next to him. He pushed a color photograph of a young woman across the table.

"Her name is Charlotte Walsh. She's nineteen, a student at American University. I'll give you her address and some other information before you leave."

Dana studied the photograph. The girl was pretty. No, more than pretty. She had a sweet, fresh-faced look, like the good girl in movies about teens in high school, blue eyes, soft blond hair. Dana bet she'd been a cheerleader.

"My client wants her followed everywhere she goes." Perry handed Dana a cell phone. "The client also wants a running account of everything Walsh does." Perry slid a piece of notepaper with a phone number across the table. "Leave voice mail messages anytime she makes a move with details about what she's doing. Pictures, too. You'll give me everything you've got. Don't keep any copies."


Excerpted from Executive Privilege by Phillip Margolin Copyright © 2008 by Phillip Margolin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Executive Privilege 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 591 reviews.
THRILLER-LOVER More than 1 year ago
This is one of those rare books that once you start reading is hard to put down. While at the same time it is one of those books that you prolong finishing because you know that it will be a long time before you read another great book. Without giving away the plot, the basis of this novel is that the President of the U.S. may be a murderer, which is a fantastic plot theme. As usual, the author develops a number of interesting characters, some great plot twists and flawlessly moves the story along drawing you deeper and deeper in. A great book has to have a great ending and this one definely does. I loved this book so much that I will read it again in the future and savor each sentence all over again. Thank you Mr. Margolin for a great read that I would strongly recommend to book clubs and indiviual readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this as a free ebook download and I would gladly have paid for it. Absolutely loved it. Twists, turns and fast action, I didn't want to put it down. Excellent! --K--
nemesisgeneral More than 1 year ago
I loved this book to the last page. This book has so many twists and turns that it makes it so intense up to the last page. The book is hard to follow at the beginning, in fact for the first 1/4 of the book. I love the way that Margolin sets up the ending and the various turns that this novel takes. Margolin adds the right amount of action and suspense while giving the reader and the characters the right amount of information to keep them turning the page. There is a lot of profanity, so if that's not your thing don't read this book. The suspense made me keep turning the page (well, hitting the next page button on my nook ;)). The plot is well developed and will keep you guessing until the very end. You'll think you have it figured out in the middle, but I guarantee that you don't know who the killer is!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every week on Free Friday, we all end up finding a "review" by the notorious Harriet Klausner which is really just a 3-4 Nook-page synopsis of the book. Solution: Go to the BN website, find her review and mark it "spam" and/or "unhelpful." Eventually, they will stop showing on the website and MAYBE BN will start taking our issues with her seriously. Harriet, if you happen to read this since I put your name in the subject, I am sorry that you are likely an old and lonely woman who wants attention. Go join a senior center or something. Your "book reviews" are nothing more than elementary school book reports and are not wanted. Now, for the book: I am usually not a fan of the pseudo-political thriller but I think Phillip Margolin does a very good job of melding the murder investigation with just enough political intrigue to make it work. I think it is worth your time.
kim65gt More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I downloaded on the nook I received as a gift for Mother's Day, and it was a Free Friday download! I am more of a historical romance kind of girl, so if it hadn't been free, I probably wouldn't have read it. I am so glad I did. I loved it. Kept me on the edge of my chair. The author really let you get to know the characters. I liked the way there were several stories going on in the beginning and they all came together so well at the end.
Beef_Wellington More than 1 year ago
I got this on my Nook as part of a Free Friday download, so not only is a free book good, but when then the book is a great read, it's the perfect deal. This book took a little bit to reel me in and at first I was afraid it wasn't going to happen. I'm glad I stuck with it because once it does grab you it's worth the wait. The characters don't necessarily stand out but they're interesting and the author does a good job of keeping them and their storylines fresh throughout the book. Sometimes I'll forget who someone is or what their role is if they disappear from the story for a while. The ending ties almost everything together. Some closure seems to be implied but it would have been nice to see it in writing. This is far from a comlaint because I really did like the book and would recommend buying it. This download also came with an excerpt from the author's new book that was just released. I'll be checking that out too. Very satisfying read
bmamca36 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book that I read by Philip Margolin and I was impressed with his writing style. The story was face paced and never dull. Unfortunately, the end was a bit predictable but still worth reading. Will look at other books by this author.
Douglas65 More than 1 year ago
I am a voracious reader who has read many authors of many genres. I had never read Phillip Margolin but, needing something to read, I picked up Executive Privilege in a grocery store of all unlikely places. I must say I was completely won over by his exciting style and level of intrigue. I, too, plan to read as many more of his works as I can find and I don't expect to be disappointed. I feel he easily fits into the cliff-hanger category of writers and recommend him as a responsible and exciting author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read, and great character development
cobraBN More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the detective work and the way eventually a lawyer, cop, and FBI agent come to the same conclusion in the case. Able to make connection on how the characters felt in their experiences and past. Great read, and it was free!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Novels such as this are such gems to come across! Turn off your Blackberry, send your spouse out of town, and be prepared for a nonstop read, because you WON'T be able to walk away until you finish. I've enjoyed Mr. Margolin's other novels, but this has a freshness and rapid-but-understandable pace that you look for. Just hope someone has purchased the movie rights!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First time reading this author and I must say I am a fan! Enjoy the weaving story lines between characters. Phillip is an amazing story teller, and I am eager to read the other books that follow the fiery red headed main character Dana Cutler. She's a private investigator with a knack for catching criminals. Great read!
Nutmeg-Anne More than 1 year ago
Margolin has another winner. It's an easy read...with an emotion grabbing topic...topped off with a somewhat surprising...but satisfying...ending. Too bad today's reality hasn't involved more fictional conclusions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a really good page turner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A good fun book with a lot of good twists. Had not read any of the authors books before, but will read others in the future. Makes you wonder about what really does go on in the White House of our great country. The ending is a bit of a surprise. Enjoy this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love his books. The are suspenseful with a twist at the end. If you are looking for a talented writer of suspense Phillip Margolin is the one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a roller coaster of a book, I loved it. Who did it? Was it the President of the US? It couldn't have been. I read this in one sitting. I won't give a way any juicy details, but as I got halfway though the book, I knew who did it. Read it, I think you will enjoy it. Phillip Margolin never disappoints.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
Even given its shortcomings in terms of plausibility, Executive Privilege is a fun read. We all like to think that there are shenanigans going on with the White House that we don't know about, so here's one to titillate those concerns.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great Free Friday pick. Well-written, interesting characters and plot development, clever twists. I would like to read more from this author. This is the first book in the Dana Cutler series, which surprised me as her backstory seems like it would have been developed in a preceding novel.
Wolf_lover More than 1 year ago
This was an OK read. I was pretty sure early on that I knew how the book would end. I did enjoy the way contemporary political situations were a part of the story. The book was enjoyable but I was not on the edge of my seat.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a fast-moving thriller with some great characters and an all-too-plausible (well, sort of) story line. I had two problems with it. First, I figured out whodunnit less than halfway through the book. Second, The insipid epilogue, all by itself, brought my rating down one whole star.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did find some parts better than others
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Characters, plot, action all work in perfect harmony!
csbisa More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put this book down. I love books that keep my attention to the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was pretty obvious, but relstively well written. The characters were likeable. Worth reading!