Violent Crimes // by Phillip Margolin


//published 2016//

So here we have what is, at this point, the final book in the Amanda Jaffe series.  I sincerely hope that Margolin will take up these characters again, as I have greatly enjoyed all of these books.  And I would like to say, once again, a sincere thank you to the publisher for giving away the entire series.  I was under no obligation to review these books in exchange for winning the giveaway, but reading and reviewing them has been entirely my pleasure nonetheless.

This is an intriguing story with many threads.  When an rich businessman is murdered, his son confesses to the crime.  Amanda, as his defense lawyer, isn’t convinced that her client is telling the truth – but why would be admit to killing someone if he didn’t actually do the killing?  Meanwhile, another man Amanda has recently defended has violated his parole restrictions and is on the lam – has he finally snapped, or does he have a good reason?  Is he possibly connected to the businessman’s death?

While several of the other books in this series have Amanda almost as more of a recurring character rather than the protagonist, she takes the top role in this story.  In this book, there isn’t much of the lengthy backstories that we’ve had in some of the other books, which led to a tighter, faster pacing that was much more action-oriented.  There was also more of a “thriller” sense to the story, as I wasn’t entirely sure who I could trust and who was lying.

I also liked the further development of Amanda’s relationship with her boyfriend, although I kind of missed Amanda’s dad as he didn’t show much in this story.  I love the way that the big criminal boss that Amanda and her dad helped in the first book is now a recurring character who plays a part in every story.

For me, the weirdest part about this book was its ending.  The actual case was wrapped up very satisfactorily.  However, in the end, Amanda wonders if one of her clients was, in fact, actually guilty of one of the murders.  I’m going to quote the way this book ends but without the names so it won’t be a spoiler.  X is the client Amanda thinks may have been guilty after all.

Frank [Amanda’s dad] shrugged.  …  “You’re never going to know [if X is guilty] unless you confront [X], and you have no reason – other than curiosity – to do that.  Let sleeping dogs lie.  There’s no reason to wake them up.”

Frank and Amanda dropped the subject and turned the conversation to more pleasant topics.  Amanda put up a good front, but she brooded all the way home.  In the end, she decided that her father was right.  [Murder victim] was evil and [X] might very well be innocent.  And he was her client, so the only purpose that would be served by pursuing this question would be the satisfaction of her curiosity.

After a fitful night, Amanda drove to the office and worked on a brief that she was filing in an assault case.  Then she read the investigative reports in a rape case.  Later that day a new client hired her and provided her with another distraction.  By the time she went home, she had forgotten about [X] – almost.

?!?!?!?  This just seemed like a very strange way to end this book.  I legit flipped the page expecting to see another chapter or something.  So weird.

All in all, a very solid entry to the series, though.  4/5 for this book and for the series (thus far) as a whole.  I thoroughly enjoyed all of them, and hope that Margolin decides to add another entry soon.