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Sleight of Hand: A Novel of Suspense (Dana Cutler Series) Hardcover – April 9, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
Margolin kicks off his latest thriller with a bit of literary legerdemain. He introduces Charles Benedict, a strikingly handsome and charismatic defense attorney and amateur magician who appears to be the novel's leading man. But Benedict is swiftly exposed as an extremely effective homicidal sociopath, and the book shifts to its true protagonist, private sleuth Dana Cutler, who is quickly dispatched on a convoluted cross-country search for a bejeweled golden scepter with a history curiously similar to that of Sam Spade's famous Maltese Falcon. It's a given that this quest will eventually bring the shrewd detective in contact with the homicidal Benedict. Jonathan Davis's narration is smooth and well paced. He adds just the right amount of smarm and smirk to Benedict's speech and captures all of Dana's drive, determination, and fearlessness. The book's other characters have more than their share of accents—from the mysterious Frenchwoman who sends Dana after the scepter to a surprisingly cheery Russian mob boss. Davis ably handles these and others in a stylish performance with just an appropriate hint of sardonic amusement. A Harper hardcover. (Apr.) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
After criminal defense attorney Charles Benedict accidentally kills a woman in the heat of the moment (while attempting to blackmail her to the tune of $250,000), he frames the woman’s husband for the murder. The victim, Carrie Blair, was a prosecutor, and her husband, Horace, is a very wealthy man, meaning that Benedict still sees a way to make some cash out of the deal. Meanwhile, private investigator Dana Cutler—Margolin fans will remember her from several novels, including Capitol Murder (2012)—is trying to track down a missing ancient relic, and her investigation leads her to the Blair murder case. There’s a really good story here—clever defense lawyer frames man for murder, then takes the man on as his client—but it’s obscured by a lot of unnecessary material. The connection between Cutler’s missing relic and the Blair case, for example, is unnecessarily complicated and massively distracting. It’s as if Margolin had two stories, Benedict’s and Cutler’s, and rather than writing a novel about each, he decided to mash them together. As with so many of his recent novels, this one’s for devoted fans only. --David Pitt
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I think Mr. Margolin needs to take his best seller status and royalties and quit writing while he still has a modicum of good reputation left.
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