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Ties That Bind (Amanda Jaffe Series #2)

Ties That Bind (Amanda Jaffe Series #2)

3.8 26
by Phillip Margolin

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On the outside, Amanda Jaffe has healed from the traumatic events that concluded the sensational New York Times bestseller Wild Justice -- but inside, she's struggling to regain her self-assurance. When she is forced to represent a pimp accused of murder (a case no other lawyer will touch), her client threatens her, strirring up the trauma to such an


On the outside, Amanda Jaffe has healed from the traumatic events that concluded the sensational New York Times bestseller Wild Justice -- but inside, she's struggling to regain her self-assurance. When she is forced to represent a pimp accused of murder (a case no other lawyer will touch), her client threatens her, strirring up the trauma to such an extent that she must finally seek the help of a psychiatrist. Her opponent on the murder case, ADA Tom McCorkle, is a local hero -- he won the Heisman Trophy and secured for University Oregon its only victory in the Rose Bowl 15 years earlier -- who is embroiled in his own crisis of confidence, because his popularity is based on a lie. When two people involved in Amanda's case also wind up murdered, Amanda's investigation reveals strange links between a powerful group of men and a drug-related bloodbath many years before. They're called "The Courthouse Athletic Club" -- but who are they? -- why are they interested in a small-time pimp? -- and is it possible that their power and influence reaches all the way to the Presidency?

Editorial Reviews

People Magazine
"Mesmerizing … It’ll rope you in with its secret tapes, bribes, blackmail, sins of the past and beautiful plot twists."
“Mesmerizing … It’ll rope you in with its secret tapes, bribes, blackmail, sins of the past and beautiful plot twists.”
Orlando Sentinel
Publishers Weekly
Attorney-novelist Margolin's last feverish tale of Portland high crimes and low morals, Wild Justice, exposed defense attorney Amanda Jaffe to such brutal torture that this sequel finds her traumatized and withdrawn. Even rougher, the action is so convoluted and the cast of characters so large she nearly gets lost in the shuffle. Among the many vying with her for listener attention are Tim Harrigan, a popular state's attorney being groomed for "bigger things" but wallowing in self-loathing and sexual degradation; his overbearing father; a Hispanic gang lord with high-level protection; a drug dealer-pimp on trial for a murder he didn't commit; and that creaky pulp staple currently making a big fictional comeback, the secret society of evil power elitists. Amanda's cause is further thwarted by the choice of narrator on this unabridged audio edition. Guidall's seasoned voice has been put to excellent use on novels featuring male leads of a certain age (Lillian Jackson Braun's Cat Who... series [reviewed below] and Louis Bigley's About Schmidt). Here his mature tones work well for the cabal members and Harrigan's dad, but not for Harrigan, much less Amanda. Simultaneous release with the HarperCollins hardcover (Forecasts, Jan. 27). (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Amanda Jaffe, a successful Portland attorney, is fighting her way back from a traumatic experience with a previous client. She is asked to defend Jon Dupre who is accused of killing both a U.S. Senator and his previous court-appointed lawyer. Jon claims he is innocent, but the case against him seems open and shut-until Amanda is kidnapped. Her assailants want her to "throw" Jon's case, but she can only guess what it is that she knows that is keeping her alive and worrying her enemies. As the story unfolds, layers upon layers of intrigue are removed, leading the FBI to a brotherhood of powerful and influential community leaders who use murder, blackmail, and drugs to control their empire. Read by award-winning actor George Guidall, these two versions of Ties That Bind include drama, false leads, violence, human weakness, and a "happy ending"-all the marks of a successful thriller. Recommended.-Joanna M. Burkhardt, Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Univ. of Rhode Island, Providence Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An inharmonious glee club warbles murderously in an off-key Margolin (The Associate, 2001, etc.). Sing a song of wheel and deal, pockets full of dirty money. This is the dissonant theme of the Vaughn Street Glee Club, a dismal secret society composed of highly placed Portland, Oregon, low-lifes. They’ll steal anything not nailed down, corrupt anyone who breathes, and murder faster than you can say Tony Soprano. What’s more, they’ve been at it for years, ever since, as spoiled-rotten juvvies fledging wayward wings, they highjacked and slaughtered en masse a hard-bitten but overconfident gang of drug-dealers. Flash forward 30 years. Harold Travis, a Vaughn Street charter member, is suddenly in trouble—most unfortunate, since his colleagues viewed him as the odds-on favorite to become president of the US. But Harold, a confirmed womanizer, has been unduly enthusiastic with a call girl, taking her permanently out of service. Before this problem can be "managed" in the vaunted Vaughn Street manner, Harold, too, experiences an abrupt and mysterious demise. And now insider Jon Dupre, pimp to the powerful (Vaughn Streeters have long employed him), is on trial for Harold’s murder, a circumstance obviously fraught with danger. So, send in the hit men. Enter, too, as court-appointed defense counsel, the brave and brilliant—not too bad-looking, either—attorney Amanda Jaffe, who soon finds herself facing a sort of extralegal double jeopardy: the need to avoid death for both herself and her client. Not easy. "Superior men play by their own rules" is a bedrock Vaughn aphorism, in keeping with which poor Amanda is beaten, shot at, nearly raped, and otherwise discomfited. But, at last, theevil choristers, richly deserving discordant ends, stumble and are caught off-base. Earlier in his career, Margolin was a robust if rough-around-the-edges storyteller; lately, however, pulpish characters and porous plotting have become his characteristics. Author tour. Agent: Jean Naggar/Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Amanda Jaffe Series , #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.04(d)

Read an Excerpt

Ties That Bind

Chapter One

United States Senator Chester Whipple, Republican from South Carolina, a staunch soldier of God, did not drink, a fact he regretted as he paced back and forth across the front room of his Georgetown town house. It was two in the morning; his investigator, Jerry Freemont, was three hours late, and prayer alone was not calming his nerves.

The doorbell rang. Whipple rushed into the foyer, but he did not find his investigator standing on his front stoop when he opened the door. Instead, an elegantly dressed man, wearing an old school tie from Whipple's alma mater, smiled at him. The senator's visitor was of medium build and height. He wore his sandy hair slicked down; wire-rimmed glasses perched on a Roman nose. Whipple, a scholarship boy from a rural public school, disliked most of his privileged Harvard classmates, but they did not threaten him. In truth, Chester Whipple was a difficult man to frighten: he had the physical strength of a man who worked the land and the spiritual fortitude of one who never wavered in his faith.

"Senator, I apologize for the intrusion at this late hour," the man said, handing Whipple his card. It announced that J. Stanton Northwood II was a partner in a prominent D.C. firm. Later that week, Whipple would discover that the firm employed no one by that name. "What do you want?" Whipple asked, genuinely puzzled and anxious for Northwood to leave before Jerry arrived.

Whipple's visitor looked grim. "I'm afraid that I'm the bearer of bad news. May I come in?" Whipple hesitated, then led Northwood into the living room and motioned him into a seat. The lawyer leaned back, crossing his right leg over his left to expose freshly polished wingtips.

"It's Mr. Freemont," Northwood said. "He's not coming."

Whipple was confused. The lawyer looked solemn. "He was a fine investigator, Senator. He found the memo proving that several biotech companies contributed millions to a secret slush fund that Harold Travis is using to defeat the anti-cloning bill. Mr. Freemont also had pictorial and audio evidence that would have made a very persuasive case for criminal charges against Senator Travis and others. Unfortunately for you, he no longer has this evidence -- we do."

Whipple was truly bewildered. He had no idea how Northwood knew about Jerry Freemont's assignment.

"It's all very perplexing, isn't it?" Northwood said. "You're expecting your investigator to bring you the key to your presidential nomination, and I show up instead." He dipped his head in mock sympathy. "But surely you didn't think that my principals would just stand by quietly while you put us out of business?"

The lawyer's condescension sparked Whipple's anger. He was a powerful man, feared by many, and he was not going to be patronized.

"Where is Jerry Freemont?" he demanded, rising to his full height so that he towered over the lawyer. Northwood was not fazed.

"I advise you to sit down," Whipple's visitor said. "You're in for a fairly strong shock."

"Listen, you two-bit shyster, you've got ten seconds to tell me where Jerry is before I beat it out of you."

"Let me show you," Northwood said as he pulled a snapshot out of his pocket and set it on the coffee table that separated him from the senator. "He was very brave. I want you to know that. It took several hours to convince him to tell us where he was hiding the evidence." Whipple was stunned. The photograph showed a man, barely recognizable as Jerry Freemont, suspended in air by a length of chain that bound his wrists. It was impossible to tell where the shot had been taken, but the bare beams and peaked roof suggested a barn. Only Freemont's torso and head were visible in the shot, but the cuts and burns on his body could be seen clearly.

"Not a pretty sight," Northwood sighed. "But you need to know that my clients are very serious when they say that they will stop at nothing to achieve their ends."

Whipple could not tear his eyes from the photograph. Jerry Freemont was a tough ex–state trooper, a dear friend who had been with the senator since his first run at political office twenty years earlier. Whipple's features suffused with rage, and his muscles bunched for action. Then he froze. Northwood was pointing a gun at his heart.

"Sit," he said. Whipple hesitated for a moment. Northwood dropped two more photographs on the coffee table. The blood drained from the senator's face.

"Your wife is a very handsome woman, and your granddaughter looks charming. She's five, isn't she?"

"What have you . . . ?"

"No, no. They're perfectly fine. If you cooperate, there will be absolutely nothing to worry about."

Whipple's hands curled into fists but he stayed where he was, seething with impotent fury.

"Please don't force me to shoot you, Senator. That wouldn't be good for you or my principals. And it certainly wouldn't save your family. If you think we'll forget about them once you're dead, you're mistaken."

Whipple felt his strength and anger drain out of him. He slumped back onto his chair.

"If you do as we say, you and your family will be safe."

"What do you want?" Whipple asked. He sounded completely defeated. Northwood stood up. "Twenty years is a long time to be in politics, Senator. Maybe this would be a good time to retire so you can spend more time with your family. And you can do something for mankind as well by making certain that the anti-cloning bill doesn't make it out of your committee. There are some very fine companies trying to develop cures for disease through the use of cloning technology. When you think about how many sick people those companies can help I'm sure you'll see that your previous position on the bill was a mistake."

Northwood pocketed the photographs. "Do we understand each other, Senator?" Whipple stared at the top of the coffee table. After a moment he nodded. "I'm glad," Northwood said, sounding genuinely pleased. "Good evening." Whipple listened to the clack of Northwood's shoes as he crossed the parquet floor of the foyer, undid the latch, and stepped outside. He heard the front door swing shut -- a sound that signaled the end of a lifelong dream.

Ties That Bind. Copyright © by Phillip Margolin. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Phillip Margolin has written nineteen novels, many of them New York Times bestsellers, including his latest novels Woman with a Gun, 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.

Brief Biography

Place of Birth:
New York, New York
B.A. in Government, American University, 1965; New York University School of Law, 1970

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Ties That Bind 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all Margolin's books and found all except Ties that Bind to be real page turners. I got lost trying to keep up with and connect the characters in this new one. I almost stopped reading after the first six highly confusing chapters. I am very disappointed and hope this book is not an indication of a new trend in style the author had adopted.
senated More than 1 year ago
An interseting story about drugs, murder, political corruption that involves some interseting characters but becomes increasingly complex and difficult to follow. Some characters, who appear to be people functioning in normal capacities for some time, deviate from their normal personalities that defy reality. Again, the story is interesting and the action is non stop. Worth reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The suspense is great. I wanted to take my time reading this book, because I didn't want it to end, but couldn't put the book down. There are so many twists and turns, and when all evidence points to an open and shut case, beware...nothing appears as it seems.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a decent story, but it's not as good as others by Margolin. by aj west
Guest More than 1 year ago
Film stage and television actress Margaret Whitton gives a multi-layered reading of Margolin's Portland based thriller. With equal ease she inhabits the most disparate of characters from lawyer Amanda Jaffe to state's attorney Tim Harrigan to a Hispanic gang leader. When last seen the once commanding Amanda had been so traumatized that she lost not only confidence but a willingness to once again do legal battle. However, she does agree to take on a case that no one else will consider - the murder of a U.S. Senator. Jon Dupre, operator of a for-the-wealthy call girl service stands accused. Claiming innocence, Dupre says he can prove that a group of influential men have formed a secret society to promote their political agendas, and will stop at nothing - not even murder. Sounds very much like a trumped up tale by someone trying to exonerate himself, does it not? However, Amanda will soon have reason to believe otherwise. - Gail Cooke
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exciting thriller. Couldn't put the books down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is an actual place where you read the review where you can click on "REPORT THE REVIEW". ONE OF REASONS IS CALLED "PLOT SPOILER". Why not use that? It doesn't affect the writer, only the plot spoiler. Please try it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You will never want any of Mr.Margolin's books to end! I have read all of his novels, 3 to 4 times each! He is indeed the best the best thriller writer, of all time! You will never be bored, when reading his exciting novels! Be sure to read his most recent thriller, Violent Crimes. You will love it!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Recovering from her run-in with 'The Surgeon', lawyer Amanda Jaffe still has nightmares of the traumatic experience, but she returns to work, only to defend a man accused of killing a U.S. senator. Amanda believes her client¿s innocence, and when he tells of having evidence that will link the senator to South American drug lords, she knows she must investigate. The deeper Amanda becomes involved in this case, the deeper she throws herself into danger, as she will be forced to face a world of sex, escorts, lies, murder and a political conspiracy that has involved high-ranking judges, and public officials for over thirty years. As the powerful men behind the plan close in on her, Amanda makes a shocking discovery¿one that has a direct path to the presidency. `Ties That Bind¿ is another powerful shocker from master thrill writer Phillip Margolin. Combining legal thrills with the dark underside of the political world, `Ties That Bind¿ grabs you from the first page and holds you captive with each murder, plot twist and shocking discovery. As with all Margolin novels the writing is clean, the plotting razor sharp and the pace super-fast, and of course a surprise ending. Phillip Margolin remains one of my favorite authors, one that does not stray far from what he does best; writing great thrillers. Mr. Margolin writes legal thrillers, yes, legal thrillers, and he¿s not out to prove otherwise by venturing into new genre territory and putting out mediocre novels, he continues to please his legion of fans by putting out excellent books. Each new novel is action packed and full of thrills, I have read every Phillip Margolin novel and loved every single one. If you¿re already a fan of Phillip Margolin you will love this book, and if you haven¿t read him yet, do so, and then go back and read his previous novels. Nick Gonnella
harstan More than 1 year ago
Life is not easy for New Mexico defense attorney Amanda Jaffe since she almost was killed while being used as bait in a series of murders committed by a surgeon in St. Francis Medical Center. It¿s been more than a year and she is still suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder complete with flashbacks, spotty sleep and intense flashbacks. The last thing she wants to do is take on a murder one case but no other lawyer in New Mexico will touch it. Jon Dupree, the owner of a high priced escort service, which is a cover for prostitution, is alleged to have killed United States Senator Harold Travis and his defense attorney in a closed door conference room at the jail. A guard witnessed the murder but Amanda isn¿t convinced because it is her client who has defense wounds and claims his attorney was trying to kill him. As Amanda gets closer to figuring out who was behind the two deaths, the co-conspirators decide that the only way to stop her is to kill her. The feisty attorney has reservoirs of strength that she is not aware of and a healthy sense of self-preservation. Phillip Margolin is one of the leading crime thrillers writers with all his books turning into New York Times bestsellers and this reviewer is certain, that TIES THAT BIND will be number eight. There is a series of interconnecting plots that seamlessly flows into the main story line. Crossing the lines is the delightful courageous Amanda leading to the reader having a lot of fun trying to discover how they connect. Harriet Klausner