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Publisher's Summary

Charles Benedict - magnetic criminal defense lawyer, amateur illusionist, and professional hit man - and private investigator Dana Cutler are on a collision course set in motion by Benedict's greatest sleight of hand yet: framing a millionaire for the murder of his much younger wife.

Ten years ago, Horace Blair fell in love with Carrie, the prosecutor during his DUI trial. After a torrid courtship, he persuaded her to marry him and to sign a prenuptial agreement guaranteeing her twenty million dollars if she remained faithful during the first 10 years of their marriage. The week before their 10th anniversary, Carrie disappears, and Horace is charged with her murder. Desperate to clear his name, the millionaire hires one of D.C.'s most brilliant and ruthless defense attorneys - Charles Benedict.

Meanwhile, private investigator Dana Cutler is in the Pacific Northwest on the trail of a stolen relic, a gold scepter dating back to the Ottoman Empire. Hitting a dead end, she returns to Virginia, perplexed and disappointed - and straight into the twisting case of Horace and Carrie Blair.

©2013 Phillip Margolin (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    54
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    21
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    6

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    40
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    2
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    2

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

It should've been a better book

Margolin might mature into a very good writer one day. He has a great imagination and the ability to weave a good plot. Dialogue and character development can't be faulted.
His failures are subtle but brings the book from a good read to just something to burn time on an airplane.
He needs a good editor. Someone who can tell him when something's not working. A couple of places in the book, I winced. Nope. That won't work. If I can see that, why can't the writer? To be a good read, the author has to be at least a bit smarter than the reader.
He needs to stop writing from every character's point of view. I realize it's a popular concept, but you can't let your hero get lost in the mix. More from the hero, less from minor characters.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A TOTAL NEW ANGLE ON A MYSTERY THRILLER. ENGAGING.

THIS IS FAST PACED, BRILLIANT WRITING. ONCE YOU START, YOU CANNOT STOP, I WAS UP ALL NIGHT, AGAIN.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

If Jack Reacher were a girl

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Phillip Margolin who writes too infrequently has created an evolving character, Dana Cuttler who could rival Jack Reacher in violence, intelligence, and personality. Margolin's plots are always carefully crafted and following the conventions of a thriller, the reader knows the villain, the suspense is discovering whether the heroine in this scenerio can succeed or be thwarted. In sleight of hand, he pits Dana against the crafty lawyer, magician, Charles benedict and the head of the Russian mob. Even the main murder victim, Carrie Blair has a brief plot turn to thwart Dana. Margolin gives Dana her first staring role in Sleight of Hand--in previous books she was supported by young lawyer Brad Miller--and she doesn't disappoint. To emphasize his point that this is Dana's story, when Dana flies to the Pacific Northwest, she doesn't even contact her friend Brad who has moved off the pages to a quieter lifestyle.<br/>Margolin shows his control of plot and characters. Even stock characters, the uber-wealthy and powerful, the downtrotten police, the Washington legal eagles, play well in Margolin's skillful analysis,. Charles Bendict is a worthy advesary and a compelling badguy. The set-up that opens the story, a rift on a thirties film noire, is cleverly worked into the plot. Margolin has that same economy of style as Lee Childs (or a very thorough editor) so not a detail dangles. <br/>And Jonathan Davis is the perfect narrator although his Russian mobster accent sounds a little like somebody in a NY deli. Rather than overdramatizing, his slightly forbodding tone implies more violence, suspense, and action that makes this a "page turner"<br/><br/>I've never read a Margolin book, they are too good as audio-stories. They only thing missing is why the audible editors don't spotlight them in mystery picks!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Jonathan Can Do Creepy Too!

Would you listen to Sleight of Hand again? Why?

Not sure as I realized what another reviewer had to say about this author is so true, " too much from minor characters and not enough from the hero. Well, I realized that in most of author's stories that J.D. reads, there is no real "big" hero. I was a bit disappointed in the character of Brad/triology, but did not realize why until I read another reviewers comments.<br/>Make no mistake, all of these listens are good and fast paced, just no deep characters except, After Dark, one of my fave of this author.

What did you like best about this story?

All of this author stories read by J.D. are good, fast pace and keep you glued to your ear buds! The story is very good and I was not disappointed, but there is no real big hero. In fact Dana is only the thread that pulls authors story/clues together. Same in the Brad series. She is a strong woman that you constantly root for to win.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Davis – was your favorite?

I love J.D. and have purchased all of this author work that J.D. reads. He is such a powerful reader. See romance Sandra Browns Mean Streak, TOPS!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Horace realizes his true worth. I love when Dana takes revenge and action against the Russian attacker.

Any additional comments?

Don't miss this author's After Dark or the story read by the late great Anna Fields if you are a new fan of this author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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one of his best and been reading him since1997

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

interestin story wixed with great humor

What did you like best about this story?

the payers

What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

super story teller .i in class with scott brick

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no can only get an hr.day in

Any additional comments?

a must read

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Grabbed me about 1/4 of the way in

For the first couple hours of Sleight of Hand, I found myself debating about whether to finish this listen. I am so glad I made it past and finished it as once it grabbed me I found I could not put it down. I love mysteries/thrillers and this one was a lot of fun.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amateurish and Implausible in the Extreme

How this tripe ever got past the 'round file' astonishes me. Cartoonish characters, clumsy, stultified dialogue and a story so inane I did not know whether to laugh or cry.

The idiotic attempt to employ magic tricks as a serious literary element was so telegraphed and patently unsophisticated, I wonder if this manuscript ever saw an editor or any sort of literary agent or publisher.

Example: Magician/Lawyer uses carny-level switcheoo in a courtroom where a college student is apparently on trial for molesting a minor. While doing so, he employs a baggie of coke to "loosen up" a 13 year-old girl. He is caught redhanded (or red somethinged) by the coppers humping a child in his car with the dope on the seat. He manages to get his hands on the drugs, in full view of the judge, lawyers, bailiffs and spectators by having his client create a diversion during which he swaps in the baking soda. Then against any semblance of actual courtroom protocol, he gets the judge to allow him to haul in a plethora of drug lab testing chemicals and paraphernalia and "discovers", to everyone's horror, that the bag holds baking side. Flummoxed, the judge decides the only intelligent path is to dismiss all charges! Was not the perp attempting to rape a minor at the time? Coke be damned, he's remains a pedophile! But that just goes away, along with any link to reality demonstrated by this author.

Even the "young adult" crowd would be rolling their eyes with this dog. I'd ask for my money back, but I am too embarrassed by having been taken in by the marketing hype used to disguised Margolin's lack of writing skill.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • tallevast, FL, United States
  • 04-17-13

Not a lot of substance, but it was OK

If 5 stars is great and 1 is horrible then I guess 3 stars is a better than bad rating. If you like the genre of modern day Mafia and hit men, have an extra credit, and don't want to be challenged. This could be the book for you. I was hoping for better - So I'm not going to give it a great endorsement.

J

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful

He never disappoints. The storyline is always so dynamic. Never can put it down. Every book has twists and turns that keep you on my toes guessing where he will go next. Unpredictably sharp and good to the last word.

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  • Loyola
  • CAMDENTON, MO, United States
  • 05-28-13

Too many characters, hard to determine main focus

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. The story seemed to switch from one primary character to another... hard to tell who the main protagonist was. There were so many characters and changes of scene, that it was hard to tell who some of the speakers were supposed to be. There wasn't really any character portrayed with much depth. Characters spoke in conversations, but there wasn't any narrative about what people were thinking or why. <br/><br/>It's an adequate vacation read, but not a satisfying novel.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The most interesting aspect was the step by step "reveal" of how the villain managed to frame the victim's husband.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Davis – was your favorite?

That's my problem. While Dana apparently is a continuing character, there was little done to develop her as a full and real person... and I didn't identify with her issues of excess violence while defending herself because of past, but unexplained, experiences. I didn't particularly like or dislike her.. but not motivated to read another in the series.

Do you think Sleight of Hand needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Not for this plot... apparently there is a continuing character but I really don't care if the character is brought into other novels because I didn't particularly like or respect her.

Any additional comments?

Narrator rather dry and unemotional.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful