Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Margolin shows his writing skills

Charlie Marsh has always been a small time criminal. He's having an affair with Sally Pope when someone gives photos of them to Sally's husband, a U.S. Congressman. There's a confrontation and someone shoots the Congressman. Sally is charged and Charlie is her co-defendant.
Thinking about his past legal history, Charlie escapes to an African nation, Batanga. They do not have a extradition treaty to the U.S. He's there at the whim of sadistic dictator, Jean-Claude Baptiste. However when Baptiste finds that Charlie is having an affair with his wife, he has his wife killed and Charlie barely escapes back to the U.S.
In the second portion of the book, we learn about Charlie's time in prison and how he rescues a warden from a knife wielding inmate by moving into the conflict and taking the knife wound himself.
He's released as a hero and writes a best selling book about his supposedly religious conversion and how people can find peace within.
Now that Charlie has returned to face trial, he hires Amanda Jaffe to defend him.
The story is professionally written and we learn the events leading up to the Congressman's shooting and the attempt to frame Sally in the affair. Amanda's father did a masterful job in uncovering the facts so that the prosecuting attorney dismissed the case against her. However, 12 years later, when Charlie turns himself in, something happens to Sally Pope and a number of people have a grudge against Sally.
When Charlie left Batanga, Baptiste's wife's brother gave him some diamonds to get out of the country so he could later use those diamonds to fund an overthrow of the dictator. Baptiste sends one of his strong armed men to get the diamonds and teach Charlie a fatal lesson.
We are kept guessing as Amanda uncovers facts to show who did and who did not commit the crime. Amanda is an excellent character who has appeared in other Margolin novels and I look forward to her reappearance. There were some nice plot twists that kept my interest and the drama was spread out.
Well done.

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