Violent Crimes: Phillip Margolin
Appearances can be deceiving and actions often speak louder than words as attorney Amanda Jaffe takes on two cases that will forever change her life and perspective. One will require that she turn her head at times to the law, to policy and hopefully protect a client that outwardly appears unstable, dangerous and a murderer. The other a young man accused of killing his father, trying to get the public to become aware of the need to protect the environment and a case that will haunt her when the final outcome is reached.
Tom Beatty was in the military and was trained to protect and kill when in danger. In a bar someone starts a fight and the end result the man winds up injured in the hospital and Tom in jail. Enter attorney Amanda Jaffe friends with Tom’s coworker, Christine Larson who works in the firm, Masterson, Hamilton, Rickman and Thomas. Christine has asked that Amanda defend Tom in the assault case hoping that with her help and that of his psychiatrist, Dr. Fisher, that he will go free. But, circumstances are not usual and being trained as a Navy Seal in Delta Force, he is strong, dangerous and has the ability to take out his opposition.
A violent crime is defined as: In the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses, which involve force or threat of force. Each of these crimes is punishable by some type of prison term or even death in the case of murder. But, Harold Roux accuses Tom Beatty of aggravated assault in protecting himself from the attack in a bar. With the help of her investigator Kate Ross, they are able to piece together the event and decide that Tom was just protecting himself but will the judge see it that way? As a paralegal for the firm that Christine works for he was concerned that Dale Masterson was going to fire him but he did not. With the aid of Dr. Fisher from the VA, Amanda is able to determine if his military service and PTSD could be the cause of what happened to him or was he just acting in self-defense?
Mark Hamilton and Dale Masterson wanted to get Global Mining as a client but in order to do that they had to find a way to “cook their books,” making their financial status look hardier and better than it was. But, getting away with it would not be easy, as they would soon learn.
As the facts come to light and we learn more about Hamilton and Masterson a third player comes out Reggie Kiner a dangerous man who once worked with someone close to the investigation and who at times has been asked to take care of any obstacles and eliminate them. As the head of the security at Renco Oil, Kiner had access to mercenaries and men who were in the military. Tom Beatty is equally as dangerous as Amanda seeks him out to find his hiding place and the men that follow her find out just how dangerous this man can be. Amanda’s ethics and moral values come into play as she has to make a concerted decision about Tom and where her loyalties lie. Evidence comes to light about Dale Masterson’s murder and the end result will pose more moral decisions for Amanda, her father Frank who runs her firm and the law in general. Who sent the mercenaries to kill Christine Larson? Who was behind Masterson’s murder and why? Why did Brandon confess to killing his father and did his father’s wife have anything to do with the murder or is greed her primary goal?
Trials that will answer some of these questions and more violence before all is said and done as author Phillip Margolin brings to light what happens when two men are so desperate for financial success that they doctor their books, hope no one will bring it out in the open, dealing with the firm’s finances and if found out millions would be lost, what happens when someone refuses to play the game? What happens when Christine realizes the truth and asks Tom for help which he refuses to give her because he needs his job?
Every step of the way Tom is one or more steps ahead of his assailants and takes care of business: Guilty or not guilty of a violent crime? You the reader will decide when all of the facts are revealed? When Amanda is in grave danger and he comes to her aid it puts her in a position where she might have to choose between the law and her loyalty to Tom. Brandon confessed to killing his father but was it just the ranting of an angry kid who wants the world to be more aware of the environment? As the investigation continues and Kate Ross learns more what the author reveals about Brandon changes it all but how?
Tom takes matters into his own hands and Mark Hamilton learns to what degree he will go to in order to get what he wants. His methods are unorthodox, his results not what you might expect. Who killed or ordered the kill of Masterson and why? What happens when someone does the wrong thing and then wants to change directions? Finding Tom’s hiding place, confiding in Billie Brewster from the police department, dealing with the DA Frederick and two detectives prove more than just interesting. Just how powerful is Frank Jaffe, Amanda’s father and what happens when they threaten to put her in front of the grand jury? Mark Hamilton is questioned, his injuries claimed to be from a car accident, the truth about the books revealed, the plot to murder Christine who threatened to go to Global Mining with the truth and how they framed Tom for it all, is the work of one creative, innovative and outstanding criminal defense attorney who uses his expertise and understanding of the law to present a case for you the reader to decide: Violent Crimes: When are they justified and when should justice prevail? An ending that leaves the reader pondering the issue once again of moral and legal ethics as Amanda faces one final decision that would change it all. One outstanding novel. One thought provoking plot. Well crafted, fast paced and definitely one of my top picks for 2016.
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ Magazine