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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Supreme Justice: A Novel of Suspense by Phillip Margolin



Originally published in 2010.
Published in 2011 by Harper.

A death row case, the Supreme Court and Homeland Security politics come together in Supreme Justice. The central question of the death row case is does the government have the right to withhold information deemed to be important to national security in a murder trial? In the case featured in the story, Sara Woodruff is a police officer on death row for killing her former lover. She denies any involvement and points the finger at suspected connections with the CIA and Homeland Security. She is sure he was kidnapped from her apartment and executed and the government's refusal to talk is going to cost her her life..

The Supreme Court building
If the story had been told from the point of view of Woodruff's defense team this book may have been quite suspenseful, entertaining and informative. Instead, it is told from the point of view of a set of ongoing Margolin characters: Dana Cutler, Brad Miller and Keith Evans. Miller works at the Supreme Court as a clerk and the justice he clerks for is interested in Woodruff's case. When there is an assassination attempt on the justice, Miller and the justice begin to suspect that there may be something about the Woodruff case that itself that caused the attempt.

Sadly, the book just never seems to take off and too many coincidences start to pile up to make the book a lot less dramatic than it could have been. Rather than building up to the suspected conspiracy, we short-circuit all of that and just start at the top. Throw in a twist that was telegraphed more than 100 pages from the end and a professional woman who does not know how to operate a modern day smart phone (hint: if you take pictures of legal documents that are not supposed to exist, you should e-mail them right away to your partners!) and I just was not impressed as a I have been with other Margolin books.

Not Margolin's best effort.

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed on February 17, 2013.

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