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Sleight of Hand: A Novel of Suspense [NOOK Book]

Overview

Tenacious investigator Dana Cutler must take down a charismatic and diabolical lawyer before he can pull off the perfect crime in this powerhouse thriller from New York Times bestselling author Phillip Margolin.

Charles Benedict—magnetic criminal defense lawyer, amateur illusionist, and professional hit man—and private investigator Dana Cutler are on a collision course set in motion by Benedict's greatest sleight of hand yet: framing a ...

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Sleight of Hand: A Novel of Suspense

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Overview

Tenacious investigator Dana Cutler must take down a charismatic and diabolical lawyer before he can pull off the perfect crime in this powerhouse thriller from New York Times bestselling author Phillip Margolin.

Charles Benedict—magnetic criminal defense lawyer, amateur illusionist, and professional hit man—and private investigator Dana Cutler are on a collision course set in motion by Benedict's greatest sleight of hand yet: framing a millionaire for the murder of his much younger wife.

Ten years ago, Horace Blair fell in love with Carrie, the prosecutor during his DUI trial. After a torrid courtship, he persuaded her to marry him and to sign a prenuptial agreement guaranteeing her twenty million dollars if she remained faithful during the first ten years of their marriage. The week before their tenth anniversary, Carrie disappears, and Horace is charged with her murder. Desperate to clear his name, the millionaire hires one of D.C.'s most brilliant and ruthless defense attorneys—Charles Benedict.

Meanwhile, private investigator Dana Cutler is in the Pacific Northwest on the trail of a stolen relic, a gold scepter dating back to the Ottoman Empire. Hitting a dead end, she returns to Virginia, perplexed and disappointed—and straight into the twisting case of Horace and Carrie Blair.

It's the perfect crime, unless Dana Cutler can conjure a few tricks of her own to take down a cunning psychopath and expose his diabolical plot—before he can work his deadly magic on her.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Margolin’s stylish if shallow fourth suspense novel featuring Washington, D.C., PI Dana Cutler (after 2012’s Capitol Murder) pits her against a particularly slimy and dangerous villain. Dispatched by client Margot Laurent to the Pacific Northwest in search of a golden scepter that once belonged to an Ottoman sultan, Cutler finds a connection between the valuable relic and Horace Blair, “the multimillionaire head of a conglomerate with tentacles in shipping, scrap metal, real estate, and other lucrative enterprises.” Back in D.C., defense lawyer Charles Benedict—magician, rapist, blackmailer, killer—is trying to frame Blair for the murder of his wife, Virginia prosecutor Carrie Blair, who disappeared shortly before termination of her prenup would have made her very rich. Cutler returns home in time to witness Blair’s bail hearing and discover a surprising link between Margot and Carrie. Cutler meets Benedict’s clever machinations with equally clever countermeasures, but readers should be prepared for superficial characterizations. Agents: Jean Naggar and Jennifer Weltz, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Associated Press Staff
“Phillip Margolin’s best book in years. Deception is prominent, and the villain is truly vile.…A magician never reveals his secrets, and like the best prestidigitators, Margolin manipulates readers into believing one thing, then reveals the surprising truth..”
Kirkus Reviews
Washington, D.C. shamus Dana Cutler (Capitol Murder, 2012, etc.) goes up against an impossibly clever killer: an amateur magician who's also a member of the bar. The legal eagles who find Charles Benedict intelligent and charming would undoubtedly be surprised to know that he's also a stone-cold killer who doesn't flinch from liquidating the occasional thorn in the side of his associate Nikolai Orlansky, a pillar of the Russian Mafia. Fresh from his latest such favor for Orlansky, Benedict decides that it would be fun to have sex with Carrie Blair, a narcotics prosecutor who's having another quarrel with her much older husband, Horace, a wealthy businessman. So he drugs her, takes her home, drugs her again, has his way with her and then demands $250,000 for suppressing the evidence that she's violated her prenup. Alas, their negotiating session ends with Carrie's death, and now Benedict, who never planned this murder, realizes that he'll have to do some fancy footwork indeed if he's to avoid serious jail time. But great illusionists are also great improvisers, and soon enough, Benedict has not only framed Horace very convincingly for his wife's murder, but has also gotten Horace to hire him as his defense attorney. He'll get away with his crime scot-free unless Detective Frank Santoro, of the Lee County police, joins forces with Dana, back in town after a wild goose chase after the priceless and totally fictitious Ottoman Scepter, to take equally resourceful measures against him. They do, he's trapped, and then the tale is over. Margolin presents another triumph of inventive plotting over paper-thin characterization, flat prose and a wholesale departure from realism. The result is on a par with an especially good episode of Columbo.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062069924
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/9/2013
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 9,813
  • File size: 812 KB

Meet the Author

Phillip Margolin

Phillip Margolin has written eighteen novels, many of them New York Times bestsellers, including the recent Worthy Brown's Daughter, Sleight of Hand, and the Washington Trilogy. Each displays a unique, compelling insider's view of criminal behavior, which comes from his long background as a criminal defense attorney who has handled thirty murder cases. Winner of the Distinguished Northwest Writer Award, he lives in Portland, Oregon.

Good To Know

From 1965 to 1967, Margolin was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa.

In our interview, Margolin tells us more about himself: "I have a terrific marriage -- 34 years and going strong -- two terrific children who make me proud, and I am the president of Chess for Success, a nonprofit that uses chess to build self-esteem and to trick elementary and middle school children into learning study skills that will help them do well in school. We are currently in 35 Title I elementary schools and six middle schools."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Phillip M. Margolin
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Government, American University, 1965; New York University School of Law, 1970

Read an Excerpt

Sleight of Hand


By Phillip Margolin

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2013 Phillip Margolin
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-206993-1


Chapter One
The American Bar Association decided to hold its
annual convention at the Theodore Roosevelt Hotel
in downtown Washington, D.C. On Wednesday
evening, a who's who of the most powerful men
and women in the country circulated at a cocktail
party hosted by Rankin, Lusk, Carstairs and White.
Charles Benedict was a minor leaguer in the power
and influence department but even in this elite com-
pany he stood out because he was strikingly hand-
some and charismatic, the person toward whom the
eyes of not only women but men were drawn when
he entered a room.
Benedict was six feet two inches tall, with a culti-
vated tan. His salt- and- pepper hair was cut short and
his trim, athletic build, ramrod posture, and chiseled
features brought to mind the Special Forces heroes
in action movies. When Benedict moved, it was easy
to imagine a field of force emanating from him, and
there was no question that his physical presence con-
tributed to his success as a trial attorney, although
more sinister factors sometimes came into play.

4 Phillip Margolin
Benedict was charming a partner from a Chicago
firm when he was distracted by Carrie and Horace
Blair, who were carrying on a whispered argument
in a corner of the ballroom. It was rare to see the
Blairs together, but Rankin, Lusk handled Horace's
legal work, and that was an obvious explanation for
the presence of the businessman, who was not a
member of the bar.
Carrie Blair was wearing a charcoal- black Gucci
suit, and her natural honey- blond hair flowed over
its shoulders. She had translucent gray- green eyes
that could paralyze the most misogynist male, her
nose was the type all the dissatisfied society women
begged their plastic surgeons to copy, and her skin
was tan and smooth. If someone were to ask what
Carrie Blair did for a living, many people would
guess that she was a television news anchor and
none would peg her as the prosecutor in charge of
the Narcotics Unit in one of Virginia's most popu-
lous counties.
Carrie's millionaire husband looked every bit the
southern gentleman, but he was many years older
than his wife, and a stranger would not be faulted
for assuming that he was Carrie's father. Horace
was gripping Carrie's arm. His face, red from anger,
contrasted sharply with his snowy white hair. Carrie
wrenched her arm from her husband's grasp and
walked out of the ballroom just as Charles Bene-
dict's cell phone vibrated.
“I've got to take this,” Benedict said, abruptly

Sleight of Hand 5
ending the conversation with the Chicago attor-
ney. Her expectant smile changed to a frown. She
was attractive, rich, and powerful, and was not used
to being dismissed like some hired hand. Had she
known more about Benedict, she would have un-
derstood why he'd ditched her without so much as
an apology. The woman was just another potential
notch on Benedict's gun, whereas the caller was
going to pay an excessive fee for a highly specialized
ser vice that Benedict provided.
“Yes,” Benedict said when he was alone in a
side hall.
“He's at the tavern,” the caller said.
Benedict left the hotel and jogged to a parking
garage a few blocks away. He'd boosted a dull- green
Chevrolet earlier in the evening. After switch-
ing the plates, Benedict had stashed the car on the
third floor of the garage. The attorney got into the
backseat and took off his yellow- and- blue- striped
Hermàs tie, his gray Armani suit, and his silk shirt.
Then he pulled sneakers, a hooded sweatshirt, and
a pair of faded jeans out of a duffel bag. As soon as
he'd changed clothes, Benedict drove out of the lot
toward Virginia.
Norman Krueger's life, which had been on a down-
ward spiral since birth, had recently gotten worse,
something that hardly seemed possible. Norman
had been born to a drug- addicted prostitute who

6 Phillip Margolin
had no clue as to the identity of Norman's father.
His childhood had ricocheted between physical
abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. The lessons in
school, when he attended, were incomprehensible to
someone with Norman's limited IQ and attention
span. Gangs were not the answer, because he was
too puny and frightened to be of use where violence
was involved, and too stupid to be trusted with any
task that might require guile.
Norman got by on a combination of public as-
sistance and low- paying jobs, from which he was
frequently fired for incompetence or absenteeism.
Recently, much of his pay had gone toward support-
ing a drug habit. The origins of his addiction were
confusing to Norman. They had sneaked up on him
like some sort of controlled- substance ninja, but
drugs were now the focus of his miserable life.
Norman's girlfriend, Vera Petrov, was as ugly
and hapless as Norman, but she was capable of
maintaining steady employment. She was also a
second cousin of Nikolai Orlansky, a major player
in the Russian Mafia, whom she'd prevailed upon to
give Norman a job sweeping up in one of his many
taverns.
Norman was the type of person no one noticed,
the human equivalent of a sagging armchair that has
been stored in a dusty corner of a side room. Evil
things happened around Norman all the time and
no one seemed to care that Norman had witnessed
them. But Norman had eyes and ears and a memory,

Sleight of Hand 7
which, weak as it was, still retained the sights and
sounds of startling events involving murder and tor-
ture, especially when he was the person assigned to
clean up the gore.
Never in a million years would Norman have
considered informing on his employer. He had seen
what happened to those who crossed the Russian.
Then he came to the attention of an undercover
federal agent who befriended Norman and listened
intently to everything Norman said when he was
under the influence of
(Continues...)

Excerpted from Sleight of Hand by Phillip Margolin. Copyright © 2013 Phillip Margolin. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 43 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 29, 2013

    I love Phillip Margolin¿s books and can¿t resist his Dana Cutle

    I love Phillip Margolin’s books and can’t resist his Dana Cutler stories.

    This book starts out with what seems to be two separate, unrelated stories. Although both were interesting, I kept wondering how they would come together.

    One story involves Dana Cutler who is a private investigator hired to track down a stolen relic that turns out to be a dead end. When she returns to Virginia, Dana becomes involved in the second story that involves the murder of Carrie Blair just days before she would receive millions of dollars from her husband Horace according to the terms of their prenuptual agreement and he is charged with her murder. In a series of twists and turns, Margolin pulls the two seemingly unrelated incidences together. The two cases turn out to have a common thread and Dana is pitted against Horace Blair's defense attorney Charles Benedict. Dana uncovers evidence that Horace may have been framed for the murder, but Benedict blocks her attempts to get the answers she needs. This story gets really suspenseful when Dana becomes a target of the real killer as she hunts for the truth.

    Margolin creates a masterful book and captivates readers from the first page. This novel was very well written and the storyline was intricately put together. The character development in this story is quite in depth. You get to know a great deal about the main characters, their lives, and their histories.

    Sleight of Hand is very well set up. It progresses in a logical fashion from beginning to end while keeping the reader completely captivated with the many different twists found in the story. As usual, I was impressed with Margolin’s ability to take multiple storylines and complex characters and bring them together in a way that held my attention.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    Good read

    It's fun to read a story in which the villain is known. The author then must weave in the details in a way that keeps the reader involved. Phillip Margolin does this.
    One thing that impressed me: In his acknowledgments, Margolin recognizes his copy editor by name. It's easy to see why. This is one of those rare books in which I found no glaring grammar or spelling errors. Kudos to Margolin and to his editors.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    Highly Recommended-you must check it out!

    Couldn't put it down.Rate five stars

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 24, 2013

    I thought "Phillip Margolin IS BACK"!! I loved it!!

    I thought "Phillip Margolin IS BACK"!! I loved it!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2013

    I quit reading this when the multi millionaire (or billionaire)

    I quit reading this when the multi millionaire (or billionaire) called an attorney who had admitted to having an affair with his wife. Said attorney is a professional hit man who panics and shoots said wife, then proceeds to blame millionaire husband. I would think the husband, being a millionaire, would have an army of legal counsel on retainer. But to choose the man who admits to cheating with your wife? I'm sure I would have many more complaints, but that was as far as I got in the book. I won't even mention when Benedict switched evidence in the courtroom.

    Please! people are paying good money to read a good book. This book is totally unbelievable. If you must read it, get it from the library.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 28, 2013

    I'd never read this author before Sleight of Hand. I loved this

    I'd never read this author before Sleight of Hand. I loved this book and read it all in one day. The story thread just pulled me right through with
    interesting characters and twists and turns and a great ending. Charles is the perfect criminal. He is a genius, a magician, a killer and a lawyer. What a combination!!! I'll get more books by this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    I would recommend this book.

    For me its a little slow to start.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2014

    Good - very good!

    Right up there wirh Margolin's top ones. If your a fan you won't be disappointed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2014

    Emma

    Name: Emma Age: 15 Related to: Harry Potter Looks: brown hair, brown eyes and glasses. Is very tall. Personality: can be shy, but once you get to know me, I will help you with anything. I am a very good friend. Hobbies: quiditch and reading Likes: quiditch, reading, wands and wizardtry Dislikes: Voldemort (doesn't every good wizard?) Death Eaters, climbing and rats.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2014

    Carmen

    Im 4'11 im a brunette and i love swimming and hunting. I like having fun! And being crazy in a good way:). Hate people that r rude and just think of them selfes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014

    John "Soap" Mactavish

    Hello my name is John im Canadian. Im enlisting in the British Sas (Special Air Service) operations. I am 18 i have a mohawk i have black hair and im 6 foot something. One thing i hate... dogs... i hate dogs.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2014

    Amethyst

    I know i chooze this one

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2014

    Jare to starfire

    I do... im 14 too

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2014

    Starfire

    Hhhhuuuuuhhhhhh

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2014

    Bella

    Im bella i love video games and i am a neurse

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2014

    Carly

    I am a girl. I have long blond curly hair, green eyes, and I am 4'11". I am best at teahing language arts and english, though I am fairly good at teaching p.e. I always wear a lavender sweater over a white woman's fit t -shirt, and a ankle-length white skirt with lavendwr sandals. I have a lavender bow on the back of my head. I am engaged.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2014

    Princess candy

    Hi my name is candy i love to swim hunt and play sports im a girl and i dont have a crush on anyone im not married and well as you can see im single and ready to posibly mingle. Hope you like my bio bye

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2014

    Jasmine

    Tan skin long thick curly golden brownish hair big dark deep blue eyes tall. Hobbies cheerleading dance gymnastics and softball. Single. Oh yeah getting braces off in 2 weeks. Um what else oh im 14. And thats pretty much it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2014

    Alan

    I was thinking it was highly active but ill join for you

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2014

    To starfire...

    Hey u wanna tlk even though im takin?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews

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