Fugitive (Amanda Jaffe Series #4)

Fugitive (Amanda Jaffe Series #4)

3.8 31
by Phillip Margolin
     
 

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Amanda Jaffe, the heroine of Wild Justice and Proof Positive, is back—in this twisting tale of international intrigue and murder that leads her deep into the past . . . and into the crosshairs of a killer.

Charlie Marsh, a petty thief and con man, becomes a national hero when he rescues the warden of a state penitentiary during a prison riot, but

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Overview

Amanda Jaffe, the heroine of Wild Justice and Proof Positive, is back—in this twisting tale of international intrigue and murder that leads her deep into the past . . . and into the crosshairs of a killer.

Charlie Marsh, a petty thief and con man, becomes a national hero when he rescues the warden of a state penitentiary during a prison riot, but it doesn't take long before he is wanted again, suspected of killing a United States congressman. After twelve years of living in the African nation of Batanga, at the mercy of Jean-Claude Baptiste, a sadistic, power-mad dictator, Charlie flees for home to face his murder charge, when Baptiste learns about Charlie's affair with the tyrant's favorite wife.

But it's not just the state of Oregon that's got it in for the philandering con. Criminal lawyer Amanda Jaffe has her work cut out for her. She must keep Charlie off death row, protect him from the head of Baptiste's deadly secret police, and prevent him from being caught by a shadowy killer who will stop at nothing to keep the truth about a decade-old crime buried forever.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

When the editor-in-chief of World News magazine offers Amanda Jaffe a $500,000 retainer to defend Charlie Marsh, an ex-con turned bestselling spiritual guru, in bestseller Margolin's entertaining fourth thriller to feature the Portland, Ore., lawyer (after Proof Positive), Amanda can't say no. Marsh, who fled the country in 1997 after being accused of murdering Congressman Arnold Pope Jr., has spent the 12 years since in the African country of Batanga "under the protection of its benevolent ruler," Jean-Claude Baptiste, whose threat to kill Marsh for sleeping with his favorite wife has prompted Marsh to return to the U.S. to stand trial. Toss in Pope's revenge-seeking father, several homicidal maniacs and the evil head of the Batanga secret service, and you've got a plot set on full boil. While some readers will figure out the identity of Pope's real killer early on, all will enjoy following the resourceful Amanda as she puts the puzzle pieces together. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Charlie Marsh was a former prison inmate who reinvented himself as the Guru Gabriel Sun when he saved the warden's life during a prison riot. His newfound wealth and fame soon dissipate when he is suspected of murdering a U.S. senator, whose wife was having an affair with him. To avoid trial, Charlie flees to the People's Republic of Batanga, a small African country with no extradition treaty with the United States. Unfortunately, its ruler happens to be a cannibal dictator, and Charlie makes the mistake of sleeping with his favorite wife. His days numbered, Charlie seeks help from an American tabloid, which smuggles him back to the States, where he will have to stand trial for the senator's murder. His lawyer is Amanda Jaffe (Wild Justice, Proof Positive), whose father successfully defended the senator's wife. Amanda will now defend Charlie—if Batanga's secret police don't get him first. VERDICT The pages fly in this violent, twisty tale of one man's journey through the legal system, and legal thriller fans will snap up Margolin's latest for their summer beach reads.—Stacy Alesi, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., Boca Raton, FL


—Stacy Alesi
Kirkus Reviews
Twelve years after fleeing a murder rap, "Satan's Guru" turns himself over to Portland attorney Amanda Jaffe, whose father successfully defended his alleged co-conspirator. When Charlie Marsh vanished after shooting Congressman Arnold Pope Jr., his lover Sally's husband, he was rich and famed throughout America as the self-help guru who preached the power of Inner Light™. High-profile fugitives have to go a long way to disappear, and Charlie's path took him to Batanga, a no-extradition African dictatorship evidently modeled stone by stone on the Uganda of The Last King of Scotland. Made first an honored visitor, then a celebrity pet by President for Life Jean-Claude Baptiste, Charlie inevitably struck up an affair with one of Batanga's First Ladies, considerably shortening her life. Reading in her mutilated corpse his own future, "a fate too grizzly to describe," Charlie wangles a trip back home that involves a series of exclusive interviews with callow tabloid World News reporter Dennis Levy; an agreement to smuggle diamonds for Batangan rebels; and a surrender to Portland DA Karl Burdett. Still smarting because his case against Sally Pope was dismissed with prejudice over a decade ago, Burdett greets Charlie the way a starving man greets a juicy steak. But his legal troubles may be the least of Charlie's problems. Nathan Tuazama, Baptiste's fearsome enforcer, has followed him from Batanga. Mickey Keys, the literary agent who sold Charlie out to the Feds, wants another piece of him. Formidable Arnold Pope Sr. is determined to avenge his son's death. As Charlie's leaving his bail hearing, a sniper's bullet nearly punches his ticket. Can Amanda (Proof Positive, 2006, etc.) get her clientoff the hook? And does he deserve to go free?Margolin's mishmash of plots is as messy as ever, with everybody apparently hell-bent on harming everybody else. Readers who persevere to the last chapter, however, are in for a nifty surprise.
BookPage
“Great pace, clever plot . . . all followed by a surprise ending. What more can you ask for?”
Seattle Times
“Phillip Margolin’s Fugitive is the latest in his string of reliably exciting and fast-moving legal thrillers.”
Portland Oregonian
“Margolin specializes in plot . . . his new novel Fugitive speeds along well over the posted limit. . . . This is a book to take to the beach.”
The Globe and Mail
“A smart and skillfully written murder mystery, with solid characters, a terrific setting and a lot of witty dialogue. . . . Fugitive is Margolin at the absolute top of his game.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Margolin smoothly moves between the plots and the time lines. . . . The novel’s characters are nicely fleshed out.”
The Oklahoman
“A clever plot and surprise ending make this a fine read.”
National Examiner
“A sizzling international thriller.”
Crimespree Magazine
“Margolin has written believable characters you can care about, and a meticulous plot that keeps the reader guessing until the very end. This is a highly recommended read.”
Aptos Times (CA)
“[Margolin’s] knowledge of the criminal mind give his novels a credibility not often found in legal thrillers. . . . You’ll be captivated by Amanda Jaffe and the way she handles this case.”
The Sullivan County Democrat
“[Margolin] outdoes himself in this new one. As always, his great strengths-characters of enough depth and complexity to believe in and like a lot, and creative, fast-moving plotlines-are on display, and so is his superbly clean, fluid style.”
Daily News (Michigan)
“A lively courtroom drama to savor . . . that pays tribute to the great detective fiction of old. Phillip Margolin has written a blockbuster with more than just a healthy dash of Hammett to please has reader.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061236235
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/02/2009
Series:
Amanda Jaffe Series, #4
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
739,504
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Fugitive

Chapter One

It is coming soon, it is coming soon!" Jean-Claude Baptiste, President for Life of the People's Republic of Batanga, told Charlie Marsh in the singsong English spoken by Africans who had been raised speaking a tribal dialect. Like most of the other men at the state banquet, Charlie was wearing a tuxedo. President Baptiste, who had never held a rank higher than sergeant, was commander in chief of the Batangan army and dressed in the uniform of a five-star general.

"Watch closely!" the president said with gleeful anticipation as he jabbed a finger at one of the many huge flat-screen televisions that were mounted along the walls of the banquet hall in the executive mansion. The massive chamber was longer than a football field and was modeled after the Las Vegas casino where Baptiste had won his most important fight. Using flat-screen TVs as wall hangings would have been out of place at Versailles, but they looked perfectly natural amid the mirrored walls, bright lights, and velvet paintings that gave the banquet hall the ambience of a sports bar.

"Now, look," the president said excitedly. On all of the screens mounted along the walls, a younger Baptiste was laughing as he drove Vladimir Topalov, the number two-ranked heavyweight in the world, into a corner of the ring. This Baptiste stood six foot six and weighed two hundred and sixty pounds. His skin was as black as ink and the lights in the arena reflected off his smooth, shaved skull. The present-day version of Jean-Claude looked vaguely like the boxer on the screen, but weighed more than three hundred pounds and gave the impression of being two large men who had beenglued together.

"Look Charlie, it comes now," Baptiste told the blue-eyed man with blond hair and tanned, weathered skin who sat to his left at the end of a teak banquet table that easily sat fifty. Charlie feigned exuberant interest, as did the thirty other guests. Anyone giving the impression that he was not completely enthralled with Baptiste's fistic skills risked an attitude adjustment session in the basement of the mansion, from which few emerged alive.

On the screen, Baptiste's opponent staggered back a few steps. Blood from a deep cut over his right eye was blinding him. The future president of Batanga feinted with a jab before landing a crushing hook to his victim's temple. As Topalov sank to the canvas, both the boxing and presidential Baptistes threw back their heads and laughed uproariously. Though the sound was off, everyone at the banquet knew that Baptiste's many fans were chanting "ho, ho, ho," as they always did when "The Happy Warrior" knocked down an opponent. Baptiste had earned his nickname by laughing delightedly whenever he subjected a foe to a particularly awful beating.

Topalov had been hospitalized after the bout. The man who had ruled Batanga before Baptiste had not been so lucky. After his knockout of the Russian, Baptiste returned to Batanga for a victory parade followed by a dinner in his honor given by the previous president of the republic. During dinner, a squad of army officers, bribed with money from Baptiste's fight purse, stormed the banquet hall and engineered a coup. Rumor had it that Baptiste had made several excellent jokes while eating the heart of the ex-president in a Juju ceremony that was supposed to infuse him with the deceased's spiritual essence.

Baptiste smiled, displaying a perfect set of pearly white teeth. "Was that not a wonderful punch, Charlie?"

"Very powerful, Mr. President," answered Marsh. Charlie was a foot shorter and roughly one hundred and fifty pounds lighter than his host. Because he lacked Baptiste's courage and vicious temperament, it had taken a considerable effort to hide his terror during dinner. Now he gathered what little nerve he possessed and raised the subject curiosity had prodded him to explore ever since Jean-Claude had invited him to sit in the chair usually occupied by Bernadette Baptiste, the only one of the president's wives to bear him a child.

"Madam Bernadette would have enjoyed your display of virility, Mr. President."

Baptiste nodded agreement. "Women want a powerful man, Charlie. They know your power will bring them great pleasure in bed, not so?"

Charlie looked down the table at Bernadette's child, five-year-old Alfonse, who sat next to his nanny.

"I see your charming son is here, but where is your lovely wife?"

Baptiste's smile faded. "Sadly, she could not join us this evening, but she told me to say hello to you if you asked about her."

Charlie's heart seized and it took every ounce of his energy to keep from throwing up.

"Ah, dessert," Baptiste sighed as a servant rolled a pastry cart next to his ornate high-backed chair. The benevolent and all-powerful ruler of Batanga loved to eat almost as much as he loved to inflict pain, and he scanned the cart eagerly. It was laden with all of the president's favorites, most of which he'd sampled for the first time in the fast-food restaurants and sumptuous casino buffets of Las Vegas.

"That one and that one, I think," he said, indicating a huge piece of German chocolate cake and a three-scoop ice cream sundae heaped high with whipped cream, sprinkled with nuts, dotted with Maraschino cherries, and covered with caramel, strawberry, and chocolate sauces.

The president turned to Charlie. He was smiling broadly. "Eat up, my friend."

Charlie had no appetite but he knew better than to disobey any presidential command, even one as benign as an order to eat dessert. As soon as the waiter placed an enormous slice of cherry cheesecake on Charlie's plate, Baptiste leaned close to Charlie's ear and whispered conspiratorially:

"I will tell you a secret, but tell no one else or it will spoil the surprise. After dinner, I have an interesting entertainment planned."

"Oh?"

"Yes," Baptiste responded happily. "Its nature is known only to me and Nathan." Charlie cast a nervous glance at Nathan Tuazama, who was sitting halfway down the banquet table, next to the wife of the Syrian ambassador. Tuazama was the head of the National Education Bureau, Baptiste's secret police. The cadaverous black man's head rotated slowly in Charlie's direction at the same time Charlie turned toward him, as if Tuazama had read his mind. There were rumors that Tuazama had supernatural powers, and Charlie had not discounted these rumors completely. Tuazama's thin, bloodless lips displayed none of the president's joy. Unlike his master, Tuazama had no sense of humor. Charlie wasn't even sure that he had any emotions.

Fugitive. Copyright (c) by Phillip Margolin . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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