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Meet the WritersImage of Phillip Margolin
Phillip Margolin
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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In the summer of 2004, we asked authors featured in Meet the Writers to give us a list of their all-time favorite summer reads, and tell us what makes them just right for the season. Here's what Phillip Margolin had to say:

I love to read and I normally read one to three books a week, depending on the size. When I think "summer read" I'm thinking about a book I don't have to think about too much. That doesn't mean it's poorly written or trashy; it means that it moves along at a steady pace and is constantly engaging. Here, in no particular order, are my top ten:

  • Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

  • Point of Impact and A Time to Hunt by Stephen Hunter

  • A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin

  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

  • Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

  • Stone City by Mitchell Smith

  • An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears

  • A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo -- Don't let the size or the fact that it's a "classic" turn you off. This is a page turner.


    In the spring of 2003, Phillip Margolin answered some of our questions.

    What was the book or books that most influenced your life?
    The Perry Mason novels made me want to be a criminal defense attorney, and I was one for 25 years. While I was practicing, I wrote my first novel, Heartstone, which was based on a murder case I learned about while working at the Oregon Court of Appeals as a law clerk. All of my novels have been legal thrillers. If it wasn't for Perry, I might not have been a criminal defense attorney and written about what I know.

    What are your favorite books?
    War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin, most of Joseph Conrad and Yukio Mishima, and Stone City by Mitchell Smith -- the War and Peace of thrillers. I like all of these books because they are brilliantly written, have great characters, and -- most important -- have really good plots.

    My favorite thrillers are Stephen Hunter's Point of Impact and A Time to Hunt, Thomas Harris's Red Dragon, and Relic by Lincoln Childs and Douglas Preston. And don't forget Michael Connelly's Concrete Blonde.

    Favorite films?

    • The Maltese Falcon
    • The Hustler
    • The Deer Hunter
    • True Confessions
    • L. A. Story
    • Alien
    • The Godfather (Parts I & II)
    • The Last of the Mohicans (by Michael Mann)
    • Die Hard

    Favorite music?
    Rock 'n' roll (1950–1970). The louder, the better.

    Who are your favorite writers, and what makes their writing special?
    Joseph Conrad. I honestly don't think I could ever craft sentences as well as Conrad -- and he was writing in English, which is not his native tongue.

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  • About the Writer
    *Phillip Margolin Home
    * Good to Know
    * Interview
    In Our Other Stores
    * Signed, First Editions by Phillip Margolin
    *The Last Innocent Man, 1981
    *Gone, but Not Forgotten, 1993
    *Heartstone, 1994
    *After Dark, 1995
    *The Burning Man, 1996
    *The Undertaker's Widow, 1998
    *Wild Justice, 2000
    *The Associate, 2001
    *Ties That Bind, 2003
    *Sleeping Beauty, 2004
    *Lost Lake, 2005
    *Proof Positive, 2006
    Photo by Edmund Keene