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Book Review: "Sleight of Hand' will shock, mislead

Book Review: "Sleight of Hand' will shock, mislead

"Sleight of Hand: a Novel of Suspense" (Harper), by Phillip Margolin

April 10th, 2013 by JEFF AYERS, Associated Press in News

Private investigator Dana Cutler returns in "Sleight of Hand," Phillip Margolin's best book in years. Deception is prominent, and the villain is truly vile.

Charles Benedict is a criminal defense lawyer, amateur magician and cold-blooded killer. Ten years earlier, millionaire Horace Blair persuaded the prosecutor in his DUI case to marry him. He also persuaded her to sign a prenuptial agreement that promised her $20 million if she remained faithful for the first 10 years of their marriage.

Two days before the payout, Benedict slips her a date-rape drug and videotapes the deed. When she confronts him and demands the truth, he kills her. Benedict then frames Blair for the crime.

Meanwhile, Cutler receives a cryptic offer to investigate the theft of a scepter with origins in the Ottoman Empire. As it takes her across the country, she realizes the pieces don't fit and she might have been set up.

A magician never reveals his secrets, and like the best prestidigitators, Margolin manipulates readers into believing one thing, then reveals the surprising truth. In "Sleight of Hand," he has created a legal thriller that's guaranteed to mislead and shock readers.