Tuesday, May 17, 2016

VIOLENT CRIMES by Phillip Margolin

With the sixth Amanda Jaffe novel we find our highly intelligent, fearless Portland attorney facing not only killers but a challenging ethical decision. 

    When Christine Larson, a member of a prestigious law firm, Masterson, Hamilton, Rickman and Thomas, asks Amanda to represent Tom Beatty, a paralegal at her firm, Amanda readily agrees.  Tom is a former Navy SEAL with PTSD who defended himself against a bully in a bar fight.  Witnesses all agree that Tom didn’t start the fight and Amanda gets the charge dismissed.  She’s pleased completely unaware that the real trouble is right around the corner,

    Christine had been looking into falsified financial statements provided by her law firm, but before she has a chance to even ask questions she is murdered and her body planted in Beatty’s apartment.  Further, someone tips a Portland narcotics detective that Beatty had been selling heroin - a trumped up accusation.  The police pick him up and Amanda promises she’ll soon have him bailed out as she’s sure Christine was murdered by one of the top lawyers in her firm - maybe Masterson himself.

    Beatty is released from custody shortly before Masterson is found murdered.  Masterson’s son Brandon is seen running from the house covered in blood so Beatty is off the hook for that murder.  An avid environmental activist Brandon readily admits to the killing and plans to use his trial as a platform to broadcast his father’s crimes. 

    It’s no surprise that Amanda is hired to defend Brandon.  She doesn’t believe his story, but if he didn’t kill Masterson, who did?

    For this reader the plot was overly complex and Amanda’s sleuthing does not reveal any great surprises.

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