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    Review of TIES THAT BIND by Phillip Margolin(see his website)

    HarperTorch, 2003

    Since she was kidnapped and tortured on an earlier case, lawyer Amanda Jaffe has lived with flashbacks and panic--to the point where she's considering abandoning her career in criminal law. Being a court-appointed attorney to a pimp accused of murdering a senator and his lawyer is close to Amanda's ultimate nightmare. But as she investigates, she starts to wonder if some horrible miscarriage of justice might not be taking place.

    Prosecuting attorney Tim Kerrigan should be happy. He's got a beautiful wife, a wonderful daughter, a Heisman trophy, and a father and friends pushing him for more--like becoming U.S. Senator and eventually even President. Tim has a problem with his self-worth, but his powerful friends are willing to make accomodations--and push him as far as he wants to go. But first, he's got to secure what should be an easy conviction in a death penalty case. Of course, there is the little matter of the blackmailing prostitute.

    As Tim and Amanda explore the case they share, each begins to learn that there are powerful currents hidden beneath the surface. Amanda picks up vague hints of some sort of cabel--the rich and powerful take care of themselves and others, and stop at nothing to preserve their power. They might even have sent a lawyer to kill his own client--the man who is now her client. But if they are that powerful and that willing to kill, is her own life safe--or has she stepped into her worst nightmare?

    Author Phillip Margolin writes a fast-paced and tight thriller. Although the paperback version is four hundred pages long, I tore through the book in a single afternoon, devouring the story as quickly as I could. The powerful cabel, the fears of the primary protagonists, and their feeling of helplessness they learned that the cabel's reach is long indeed added power to the story. I did have some problems with the characters--both Amanda and especially Tim whined a bit much for my taste, but Margolin's powerful writing kept them from becoming completely unsympathetic. One horrible editing error--where Tim's wife first reports that Tim is alive and then claims that she doesn't know whether he is alive or not did jar me out of the story, but not for long.

    If you like conspiracy-theory types of stories, you won't go wrong with TIES THAT BIND.

    See more reviews of novels by Phillip Margolin.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/24/04

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