Violent Crimes: An Amanda Jaffe Novel
Phillip Margolin is a talented storyteller. He’s got a silky, deceptively simple style that snakes back around when you least expect it and grabs you. This works to great effect in many of his novels, including Gone, But Not Forgotten, his breakout novel. And the author is to be credited for trying new things in recent years, such as a young adult novel (Vanishing Acts) and a historical drama (Worthy Brown’s Daughter).
In Violent Crimes, Margolin returns to more familiar territory with the reappearance of series character Amanda Jaffe. It’s been six and a half years since the last Jaffe story, Fugitive, but the criminal defense attorney is as energetic as ever. When approached by lawyer Christine Larson to represent her paralegal Tom Beatty, a former Navy SEAL with PTSD who defended himself a little too aggressively against a bully in a bar, Jaffe accepts what looks like a simple case of false accusation and promises to spring Beatty.
Which she does.
Then Christine herself is murdered, and Beatty is rearrested. Jaffe works her magic a second time, Beatty goes free, and a top partner at the same law firm is murdered next, with all evidence pointing toward the former SEAL. Beatty goes into hiding. Then Masterson’s son, a mentally unstable eco-warrior claims to have murdered his own father in the name of saving the Earth. Jaffe takes on the son’s case as well, and shortly the interests of her two clients’ come into conflict. More entanglements ensue, as do more complications and violence.
Fans of the author and the Amanda Jaffe series will be pleased to have Jaffe back after her long hiatus. Others may find that Violent Crimes lacks some of the kick of Margolin’s previous novels, but likely will still find the book an easy enough way to pass the time.