The Perfect Alibi (Robin Lockwood #2), by Phillip Margolin

Eight stars

Philip Margolin brings Robin Lockwood back for another legal thriller set in Oregon. Lockwood, a former MMA star, is ready to do battle when she is approached by a young woman who confides that she’s been raped. Robin explains that she cannot prosecute a criminal case, but is willing to help with any civil matter that might be needed. Listening to her client,  Robin learns that a football player, Blaine Hastings, turned a booze-fuelled lustful encounter into something violent that led to a sexual assault. Hastings has a much different tale, though he cannot explain the semen left in and around the victim. At trial, Hastings is less than happy with his legal representation and is sent away. However, things take a definite turn when another woman is raped, identifying a different man, but Hastings’ DNA is left inside her. As Hastings was incarcerated at the time, he could not have committed the crime, but what’s happened? Robin is baffled and unsure how to help her client, but the local authorities are sure there is some scientific explanation. Hastings is released on bail but soon disappears, just as his lawyer’s legal partner is slain. Robin is hired to defend the man accused of the murder, though no one believes that he could be involved. Working both mind-blowing cases, Robin watches as the D.A. lands himself in some hot water and turns the local legal community on its head. With time running out and answers scarce, Robin will have to act to get answers, while still keeping an eye out for Blaine Hastings, who’s sure to have a bone to pick with her. A well-crafted novel with layered sub-plots that all link together, Margolin shows why he is the master of his genre. Perfect for fans of legal thrillers full of twists and those whose search for justice is unending.

I usually enjoy Phillip Margolin and his novels, which mix the law with dramatic developments throughout. This was no exception, as the story twisted and turned from one part to the next. Robin Lockwood remains a wonderful protagonist, able to tear down anything put before her, be it a charging body or legal argument. Her attentiveness shows that she has the makings of a sensational legal mind and she surrounds herself with those who are able to help her excel. Juggling a seemingly impossible workload, Lockwood finds enough time to locate her fair share of trouble. Others in the book prove quite effective at advancing the plot and creating a niche for themselves. As Margolin creates a smaller story within each part, there are characters who shine in parts of the book, backing off in other domains. The story was strong and its scientific element did not drown out the effectiveness of the legal arguments. The reader is in for a treat, offered nuances of many aspects of the law, jammed into this mid-length novel. With fresh ideas and ever evolving themes (as well as a cameo by one of Margolin’s long-time stars), this is another book worthy of its fair share of praise. A mix of chapter lengths serves a great purpose while always leaving the reader to wonder what awaits. Perfect for a single-day reading, should time permit.

Kudos, Mr. Margolin, on another success. I am pleased to have discovered your work and cannot wait to see what else you have in store!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: