Proof Positive (Amanda Jaffe Series #3)
  • Proof Positive (Amanda Jaffe Series #3)
  • Proof Positive (Amanda Jaffe Series #3)

Proof Positive (Amanda Jaffe Series #3)

3.9 22
by Phillip Margolin

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Defense attorney Doug Weaver believes his client, Jacob Cohen, is innocent—but the forensic evidence proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the meek, mentally ill homeless man killed and dismembered a woman . . .

Hired to defend gangster Art Prochaska against charges that he murdered an informer, lawyer Amanda Jaffe and her father, Frank, have their work

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Defense attorney Doug Weaver believes his client, Jacob Cohen, is innocent—but the forensic evidence proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the meek, mentally ill homeless man killed and dismembered a woman . . .

Hired to defend gangster Art Prochaska against charges that he murdered an informer, lawyer Amanda Jaffe and her father, Frank, have their work cut out for them—because, as improbable as it seems, the forensic clues scream that Prochaska is guilty . . .

And now people are dying inexplicably—as Amanda and Doug join forces to find answers hidden somewhere in the darkest corners of crime scene investigation, where a god-playing madman holds the lethal power to alter the truth.

Editorial Reviews

“A fast-moving plot … The increasing popularity [of] CSI ... virtually guarantees this novel a wide and appreciative audience.”
Publishers Weekly
In bestseller Margolin's third legal thriller featuring feisty defense lawyer Amanda Jaffe (after 2003's Wild Justice), respected forensic expert Bernard Cashman, who works for the Oregon State Crime Laboratory, has developed a personal philosophy that allows him to manufacture evidence to ensure the successful prosecution of those he feels are guilty, especially if crucial evidence is missing. He's not a madman, just absolutely sure that he knows more than judge, jury and the legal system when it comes to administering justice. After a fellow crime lab employee approaches him about discrepancies in his work, he adds murder to his list of methods that ensure his continuing crusade. Amanda is still working in her father's law firm and still having trouble with her love life, though Margolin wisely steers clear of wasting much time on her personal problems. The author deftly manages a large cast of characters and ties the many plot lines together with enough clever twists to satisfy faithful fans and newcomers. 6-city author tour. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Margolin sure knows how to bring listeners into a courtroom and make them feel as if they are members of the jury. Although the dialog might be a bit predictable and the characters a trifle cardboard, the real power of the author's writing lies in his ability to clear away the fog that often obscures legal action. In Proof Positive, the listener's sympathy is with the defense attorneys, and Nanette Savard's performance brings excitement and authenticity to two complex stories. Doug Weaver is a decent defense lawyer who is devastated when one of his favorite clients is executed for a murder he claims he did not commit. At the same time, celebrated attorney Frank Jaffe is hired by the criminal kingpin of Portland, OR, to defend his friend against another murder charge. Two distinct narratives are skillfully interwoven into a story that challenges the imagination until the very end. Margolin definitely retains his reputation as one of the best courtroom drama authors of all time. The demand for this very affordable package will be strong in all public libraries. Joseph L. Carlson, Allan Hancock Coll., Lompoc, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In her third appearance, Oregon defense attorney Amanda Jaffe (Ties That Bind, 2003, etc.) takes on a CSI tech who thinks he's God. Bernie Cashman, forensic expert at the Oregon state crime lab, loves his job, and he's terrific at it. The trouble is that he's nuts. He thinks it's perfectly fine to fake whatever evidence is necessary to send the folks he's decided are guilty to the slammer. Anything less would be a shirking of his professional responsibility. He's been acting like God for years as the occasion warrants, pleased as punch with the results, until his colleague Mary Clark semi-accidentally catches him at it. It's a discomfiting development that leaves Cashman with a moment of clarity: The woman has to be murdered. All his splendid work in support of Oregon law enforcement hangs in the balance. It turns out that murdering Mary entails framing another kind of nutcase-poor, unbalanced, homeless Jacob Cohen, custom-made for a role as scapegoat. But once Amanda puts in an appearance on Jacob's behalf, Cashman's brought to book by means of a little bit of luck wrapped around a modicum of human folly. Margolin is never going to be a poster boy for stylish prose, but this is a briskly paced, cleverly plotted, long-overdue switch on all those heroic forensics guys.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Amanda Jaffe Series, #3
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Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.00(d)

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Proof Positive

By Phillip Margolin

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Phillip Margolin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060735058

Chapter One

If you looked up the word "pathetic" in the dictionary, you might find a picture of Vincent Ballard. Ballard had not always been pathetic. At one point in his life, he had been considered brilliant and dynamic. That era had coincided with the dot-com bubble, when Vincent was making more money than he could count as a partner in an Internet start-up that could not miss. In those days, Vincent rode the tiger; hell, he had tamed the tiger and turned it into a pussycat.

Before he became rich, people described Vincent, with his Coke-bottle glasses, acne, and unkempt hair, as a skinny nerd who couldn't get even ugly girls to give him a second look. By the nineties, Vincent was wearing contact lenses and handmade suits from London, collecting sports cars like baseball cards, and kicking one centerfold-quality babe out of his bed as soon as another luscious cutie made his cocaine-powered dick rise.

Then the bubble burst. Overnight, Vincent's stock options didn't add up to the price of a Starbucks latte. But, hey, no problem. Vincent wasn't worried. He was so high all the time that reality had become irrelevant. Was he not the brilliant, sexy Vincent Ballard, brain and stud extraordinaire? So what if his company went under? He'd get a new ideaand soon he'd be rolling again. There was only one problem; drugs had messed up Vincent's mind so badly that the idea part of his brain was now as limp as his dick.

Drug habits are expensive. Vincent sold the sports cars and his collection of fine wines. He downsized from his two-million-dollar home to a one-bedroom apartment in Portland's fashionable Pearl District. Five years after his company went under, he couldn't make the rent anymore. Now he lived in a residential motel in a single room that smelled like beer, stale pizza, and garbage; and he worked at minimum-wage jobs when he could scam the drug tests.

A few months before he met Juan Ruiz, Vincent had been busted for possession and given probation on the condition that he enroll in a county drug program. Vincent had graduated summa cum laude and was as clean as a whistle. His probation officer had even helped him land a halfway decent job at a software company.

Vincent had kicked the habit several times before. During the early days of cleanliness, he was always euphoric. This time was no different. Vincent knew that soon he would be back in the land of Armani and Porsche. Then he had the predictable clash with his supervisor, which led to his early exit from employment, followed by depression and the inevitable reunion with Mr. H.

A few weeks after he started using again, Vincent's connection was arrested. Vincent badly needed a fix, and he learned through the junkie grapevine about a new source for the Mexican black-tar heroin he craved. Juan Ruiz was dealing in Old Town. Since he was selling and Vincent was buying, Ruiz was higher up the food chain than his customer, but not by much. When Vincent spotted Ruiz, the emaciated pusher was dancing from foot to foot to cope with the cold and damp, and his eyes were continually shifting as he scanned the dark, deserted streets for cops.

"Are you Juan?" Vincent asked nervously. He was twitchy and needed his fix.

"What you want, bro?"

"Toby told me your stuff is good."

"My shit is the best," Ruiz said. "Show me some money and you can see for yourself."

Vincent pulled out a handful of crumpled bills, and Ruiz spit out a balloon. If Vincent had been a cop, he would have swallowed it.

"Where you been buying?" Juan asked as he counted the bills.

"Around, you know."

All junkies are paranoid, so Vincent was intentionally vague.

"Well, you buy from me and I'll treat you right. Our shit's cheaper, too," he added, holding out two bills.

"What's this?"

"A rebate, amigo. There's a new man in town. He wants to treat you right. We got the best shit and the cheapest. You come to me. Don't go to no other dealers. Spread the word."

A light went on in one of the few areas of Vincent's brain that were still working. Martin Breach ran the drug business in Portland, but rumor had it that a Colombian cartel was trying to cut into his territory. Breach was not known for being a good sport or a gracious loser, and the word on the street was that he was giving drugs and money to anyone providing information about dealers who were working for Felix Dorado, the cartel's front man.

Back at the motel, Vincent shot up. First things first. But what goes up must come down. Vincent knew that he'd need to score again soon, but he couldn't afford another hit. When he was able to get out of bed, he walked up the street to Lombardi's. The bar stank of sweat and cheap beer, and catered to people like Vincent. Martin Breach owned it.

Twenty minutes after Vincent convinced the bartender that he had some information Mr. Breach would be interested in hearing, the door opened, and two men walked over to the wooden booth where the bartender had told Vincent to wait. Vincent had once been a businessman, and this was business. He slicked down his hair as best he could, squared his shoulders, and stood up.

"Vincent Ballard," he said, offering his hand. Neither man took it. After a few seconds, Vincent felt ridiculous, and his hand dropped to his side.

"Sit down," Charlie LaRosa said as he slid in across from Ballard. LaRosa had a square face with dark, flat eyes that made him look very intimidating, so Vincent was surprised by how gentle he sounded.

Vincent sat on the bench, and the other man squeezed in beside him, forcing Vincent against the wall and cutting off all avenues of escape. The man smelled of aftershave and had thick, greasy hair and long sideburns. . . .


Excerpted from Proof Positive by Phillip Margolin Copyright © 2006 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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Proof Positive 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was lucky enough to have many, assorted, advance reader's copies to read this summer. I would have to say this has been my favorite. Very creative, wonderfully written... my only complaint is based on happenings toward the end of the book. Some steps taken by a lead character and the villain weren't really plausible. Well, to be fair.. I guess a villain can/will do what ever he wants..but, knowing that a madman is a madman wouldn't a seemingly smart individual make some decisions based on that??? I don't want to give anything away! Keep up with the details, this author really ties everything up nicely in the end. I hope my grumpy complaint doesn't deter you from reading this. It is worth your time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down, wished it had been longer, read it in a day and a half.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Oregon state crime lab forensic expert Bernie Cashman is the recognized expert, a magician who seems to conjure up the impossible PROOF POSITIVE that sends many suspects to jail. He is the best at insuring a conviction. However, there is one slight drawback to Bernie¿s methodology. He has no moral compunction to faking the evidence that sends those he believes are guilty to prison. No one realizes that Bernie has become judge and jury as his results has made him the centerfold for those tough on crime. --- However, his lesser colleague Mary Clark stumbles on Bernie¿s rigging the proof. Used to being adulated as a God, an irate Bernie knows he must rid the world of this do-gooder, but also needs a culprit, whom he finds in unhinged Jacob Cohen, to take the fall. Oregon defense attorney Amanda Jaffe takes on homeless Jacob as her client. His case though not related in any sense to another still seems familiar with the link being Bernie. Amanda investigates not realizing that this CSI is willing to kill anyone who tries to kick him off his pantheon perch on the top of Mount Olympus. --- In many ways Bernie stars in this crime thriller as his fascinating in a macabre way actions and rationalizations are the focus of the tale even more so than Amanda is. Amanda remains an intriguing protagonist (see TIES THAT BIND and WILD JUSTICE) as her personal problems simmer (thank goodness) in the background. Using a macabre twist on the CSI adulation theme, Phillip Margolin provides a Hitchcockian thriller that readers will relish. --- Harriet Klausner
Andrew_of_Dunedin More than 1 year ago
I am running behind on my reviews, and had to reread the blurb online to remind myself what this book was about. That statement summarizes my opinion of the book – it held my interest at the time, but was quickly forgotten when I’d reached the end. It was neither so good nor so bad as to leave a lasting impression in my memory. (At least it left enough of an impression that the brief reminder was enough to bring the highlights back to mind!) RATING: As middle of the road 3 stars as you can get.
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GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Fans of forensic fiction, don't miss this one. With his 12th novel and the third featuring Portland attorney Amanda Jaffe, former criminal defense attorney Phillip Margolin paints a suspenseful, disturbing picture of what can happen to crime scene evidence. With a narrative episodic in nature Margolin captures readers at the outset and holds them in thrall until the final page. Defense attorney Doug Weaver isn't having a particularly good day. He has had to witness death by lethal injection of one of his clients, Raymond Hayes. Accused of killing his widowed mother, it doesn't take the jury long to exact the death penalty. Doug believes in his client's innocence, and feels he messed up the defense. Seeing Raymond put to death is more than he can handle. This same death is a time for jubilation for crime scene investigator Bernard Cashman. Receiving a telephone call notifying him of the death and thanking him for his testimony 'that nailed Hayes' made Cashman's chest swell with pride. This was, indeed, an occasion, his testimony had now put three men on death row, and he kept a scrapbook of his achievements. To celebrate he 'uncorked a bottle of La Grande Dame 1979' and then prepared a blini spread with banned Caspian Sea beluga caviar. Next, we're introduced to Vincent Ballard, a junkie, who supports his habit by spying for Portland drug lord, Martin Breach. When Ballard is found dead, Cashman is one of the first on the police protected scene. Attorney Frank Jaffe owes Breach, so he doesn't hesitate to defend one of Breach's men who is accused of the junkie's murder. Doug Weaver's luck seems to improve when he frees Jacob Cohen, a homeless evidently delusional man, who has been charged with failing to register as a sex offender. But his good fortune soon runs out when Cohen is arrested for the brutal murder of a woman. Margolin ties all of these threads together with the skill of a surgeon, while presenting shocking details of forensic evidence and the horrifying plotting of a deranged mind. Another can't-put-down thriller from Margolin. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got an advanced readers copy of this book and loved it. It has alot of twists and turns and I loved the characters. Great beach book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. He never disappoints me.