Sleight of Hand by Phillip Margolin

Sleight of Hand Reviewed by Allen Hott

Dana Cutler is a private investigator who has lived quite a life. As an undercover police officer in D.C. her cover had been blown and the biker gang that she had infiltrated had made her pay for her subterfuge. However even after several days of beatings and rapes, Dana lucked out when one lone captive got drunk instead of paying close attention to her. Not only did she take care of him but also the other three gang members when they returned. Her training in the military and as a cop had made her into a very mean tough lady.

However the episode had left her in a pretty sad mental and physical condition which required over a year in a mental hospital recovering. When she was able to get back on her feet she decided no more police work but instead she became a private investigator and a very good one. Her skill in that environment helped her to bring down the former president of the United States for many criminal acts.

Charles Benedict is quite a development! Benedict is a highly successful defense attorney (though not necessarily well thought of by many in the profession because of his methods). And along with that talent he is also an amateur illusionist, a fairly decent magician, and a hit man. Yes he is a hit man for one of the major crime bosses in D.C. Not all of his talents are exactly out in the open so he has thus far been successful at his callings.

Benedict is also quite the ladies’ man or at least he enjoys the accompaniment of ladies. A chance meeting with Carrie Blair at a cocktail party leads to his next adventure though at the time he doesn’t know what all is going to happen. She is married (unhappily) to Horace Blair who is one of D.C.’s wealthiest high society gentlemen. Carrie is a prosecuting attorney and she had an unusual development while trying Blair for driving under the influence. The development was that they became a couple and then man and wife. She is still regretful of the arrangement but due to a prenuptial agreement she is hanging in and being faithful.

Wanting her to be added to his list of triumphs Benedict drugs her drink and takes her home for further adventures. When she awakens is when the true Sleight of Hand story begins.

Margolin cleverly has woven these two seemingly distant relationships together in such a way that the reader has a tough time putting the book down. As the story progresses and Benedict gets further and further involved with the Blair family Dana Cutler is also moving adjacent to the whole story and then suddenly both factions of Margolin’s tale become as one.

A well written story in typical Margolin fashion with well moving dialogue interspersed with description and characters’ mental processes all adding to the telling of the tale. Once more Margolin works well with legal characters as well as political persons as he has done in the past.

Disclosure in Accordance with FTC Guidelines 16 CFR Part 255

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