Phillip Margolin, a former criminal justice attorney, brings his readers Wild Justice, where justice is never straight forward in and outside of the courtroom.
A haunting massacre awaits investigators near a cabin in the woods, the "works" of a mad man, a serial killer that has taken meticulous care to make sure that each of the victims suffered. Caught on scene and arrested is a brilliant but violent and drug abusing surgeon Dr. Vincent Cardoni. Cardoni hires the top lawyer in Frank Jaffe and his daughter Amanda who is fresh out of law school. Amanda gets chills every time she encounter Cardoni and she question whether she can do this. Can she defend a man who she believes is a serial killer? Could she really help set a monster free? Amanda's concerns are taken away from her, when Cardoni disappears under strange circumstances, and everything points to Cardoni as being dead. Now four years have passed, and the murders begin again. Has Cardoni returned? If yes how did he survive, and would he be even capable of committing the murders now? So the man hunt starts, all the law enforcement agencies are searching for him and coming up dry. Then the nagging question enters everyone's minds were they wrong was Cardoni is not the killer, and the real murder has been living in their midst the whole time.
This is an great book, a true psychological thriller. This book keeps you guessing to the end, with so many twist and turns you will always be second guessing who you think the killer actually is. You really get no true confirmation about who the murder is till the end of the book. There are so many good candidates for who the murderer is, which makes the book even more chilling, suspenseful and thrilling. I think that it is haunting that the book has so many options of who the killer could be, as there are clues and motives that point to all of them.
Amanda is a pretty well developed character, portrayed a little too girlish for my liking as she immediately falls for an old high school crush. However, my main problem with Amanda is that she preforms duties way outside of that of a lawyer. I think Margolin was trying to make Amanda a Lawyer and an Investigator all at once. By not focusing on one title Amanda becomes a little bit of an unfocused character and in the end made me think (that in real life) she would not be a very good lawyer. This is an area where Margolin lost his focus a bit, and you think this would have been the strongest and well developed part of the book as Margolin used to be a criminal defense attorny.
You do get into the head of the killer, and just see how methodical the killing was. You get to read tidbits of the of the Killer's journal that give in detail the experiments that are being preformed on the victim. (Note, some of these scenes may be hard for some readers to read they are gory and a little bit graphic so if you have problems reading this type of thing this book is not for you) I believe that the journal entries add to the overall chilling feeling (but in a good way) that you get when you read this book and they add to the suspense and plot, as you really know why the right killer needs to be caught.
This was the first book that I have read by Margolin and it will not be the last especially in the Amanda series. I have bought the second book, Ties that Bind already and I hope to be reading it sometime soon (so many books so little time....)
Wild Justice is everything that a thriller reader could ask for, a suspenseful and skillful plot with chilling scenes. This book will leave you wanting more from Margolin. Do not start reading this book at night, you will want to finish it, or keep your lights on for the rest of the night while you try to sleep.
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