Sleight of hand – Philip Margolin

The baddie in this modern crime thriller is Charles Benedict: defense lawyer, magician, and hit man. That’s quite a combination, and it is to the author’s credit that he comes so close to making the character credible. Almost, but not quite. To my way of thinking, the amoral Benedict lacks more than a moral compass, and that takes the edge of an intriguing individual.

Benedict crosses swords and paths with private investigator Dana Cutler, in a case involving mega wealthy Horace Blair, and an accusation of the murder of his wife Carrie, to avoid a twenty million dollar payout under the terms of a secret pre-nuptial agreement.

Margolin crafts the plot and the layers well. There is plenty of suspense, and the book doesn’t hang about. There are a fair amount of twists and turns before the threads are all tied up together oh so neatly. Margolin knows his stuff and the procedural elements, even if fiction, hang together well. The backdrop, the setting, and all that forms the stage for his players, is competently done. But it’s the characterization of Benedict that lets the side down, just a little.

Not bad, but not great.