Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


Book Author: Phillip Margolin

BETRAYAL by Phillip Margolin: Book Review

I’m fairly certain that Robin Lockwood, the heroine of Phillip Margolin’s latest novel, is the mystery world’s only former MMA contender.  

Now a well-respected criminal defense attorney in Portland, Oregon, Robin put herself through college as a mixed martial arts fighter with a future plan to become an attorney.  She is successful until she fights Mandy Kerrigan, a higher ranked fighter, and was soundly defeated.  At that point she put all her efforts into getting into law school.  Now Mandy has come back into Robin’s life, this time as the suspect in a murder case. 

The Finch family, consisting of a mother, father, and two teenaged children, are shot to death.  They are found by the daughter’s English teacher, Arthur Proctor, who tells the police he came to talk to the family about a potential scholarship for their daughter and ran outside when he saw the carnage and called 911.

Several minutes before Proctor enters the Finch home, a neighbor sees a woman yelling and pounding on their front door.  When no one responds the woman walks away, and now the neighbor identifies her from a photo the police show her as Kerrigan.  The neighbor says she then saw Proctor, the teacher whom she knows from her son’s school, approach the Finches’ front door.  He enters the house, only to run out a few minutes later with his cell phone pressed to his ear.

Despite the typical suburban image that the Finches project, there are serious cracks below the surface.  Margaret Finch is a criminal defense attorney known to represent members of a Russian mob, the father is a chemist with a serious gambling problem, the son Ryan pushes drugs, and the teenaged daughter is carrying a harrowing secret.

To take part in a MMA match that she hopes will revitalize her career, Mandy buys a performance-enhancing drug from Ryan that he swears cannot be detected under testing.  But he is wrong, it is detected, and as a result her purse money is being held up and she’s in danger of being suspended from the league.  The connection between Mandy Kerrigan and Ryan is what makes the police believe she is the killer.

Although Kerrigan denies that she was ever inside the Finch house and there are no physical traces there to implicate her, the police feel they have sufficient circumstantial evidence to bring her to trial.

Mandy calls Robin from jail and asks her to represent her.  She swears she’s innocent, and Robin agrees to take the case.  To make this even more interesting, the prosecutor will be Tom McGee, the first man Robin has dated seriously since the death of her fiancé several years earlier.

Phillip Margolin is a New York Times best-selling author of more than two dozen books, seven featuring Robin Lockwood.  The author has created a protagonist who is believable, a skilled professional, and a warm and caring individual.

You can read more about Phillip Margolin at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.