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Article posted: 4/27/2013 6:00 AM

'Sleight of Hand' will shock, mislead

By

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 coldblooded 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.

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