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. -- Harper
Normally, I'd keep a thriller like SLEIGHT OF HAND by Phillip Margolin for myself; however, I thought my dad might enjoy a change of pace. Here are his thoughts:
SLEIGHT OF HAND is Phillip Margolin’s latest suspense novel. I have reviewed two other Margolin novels (CAPITOL MURDER and SUPREME JUSTICE) and have enjoyed each one. This thriller begins with private investigator Dana Cutler, a familiar character in past Margolin novels, following an unusual case out in the Pacific Northwest involving a stolen medieval scepter. In a seemingly unrelated situation, Washington D. C. police find sufficient evidence and motive to charge wealthy businessman Horace Blair with the murder of his young wife, Carrie. Carrie disappeared one week prior to a pre-nuptial agreement kicking in that would pay her 20 million dollars.
Charles Benedict, a fiery criminal defense attorney who is also an amateur magician and cold blooded killer tied to the Russian mafia, is the one responsible for the death of Carrie Blair. He uses his sleight of hand ability to frame Horace Blair with the murder. In an ironic twist, Blair hires Benedict to clear his name.
Dana Cutler soon becomes suspicious of her latest case and learns it was a ruse to get her out of Washington D.C. She begins to investigate why and finds a connection to Horace and Carrie Blair and Charles Benedict. Cutler then works with the D.C. police using a few tricks of her own to trap Benedict.
Margolin shows his mastery of characters, timing and plots in SLEIGHT OF HAND. He showed his creativity of character development in combining the characteristics of an attorney, illusionist and killer in one character. He also kept the story line current by including the Russian mafia. Even though he used a familiar character from prior novels the book can definitely stand on its own.
SLEIGHT OF HAND is an easy-to- read suspense thriller with an unusual story line. It would be a great read for that next beach vacation.
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel and to Booking Pap Pap for his review.