The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

January 22, 2010

Review: Legal thriller full of plot twists


By Phillip Margolin

(Playaway MP3 audiobook)

Margolin’s latest thriller revolves around Charlie Marsh, a small-time thief and con man.

In 1997, Charlie is serving a prison sentence when he saves the warden’s life during a prison riot and becomes a national hero. He takes advantage of the situation by writing a largely fictional book about his life. The book becomes a bestseller, allowing Charlie to live the high life.

Sally Pope, wife of a prominent congressman, and Charlie have an affair. Sally’s husband, Arnold discovers evidence of the affair and confronts them at a book signing that Sally hosts for Charlie.

Arnold is shot and killed and Sally faces a murder charge, although no one saw the shooter. Charlie is charged as an accomplice.

Amanda Jaffe watches in the courtroom as her father, Frank, successfully defends Sally and gains her acquittal. Charlie flees to Batanga, Africa to avoid his own murder trial.

For twelve years, Charlie works for the Batangan dictator Jean Claude Baptiste. When the dictator discovers that Charlie has been sleeping with one of his wives, he has his wife tortured and killed.

Charlie decides that facing death row in the United States is preferable to the fate he will meet at the hands of the sadistic dictator.

Charlie calls upon Martha Brice, editor-in-chief of “World News” for help in making his escape. She provides the money and makes the plans for Charlie’s harrowing exit from Africa.

He leaves Africa entrusted with a package of diamonds for safekeeping. The diamonds are intended to fund a resistance movement against the African dictator at a future date.

So Brice hires Amanda Jaffe to defend Charlie in his murder trial. Amanda enlists her father to assist an investigation into the events surrounding the congressman’s murder twelve years ago.

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