Review

Ties That Bind

by Phillip Margolin



TIES THAT BIND is a vehicle for Phillip Margolin's reintroduction
of Amanda Jaffe, last seen in WILD JUSTICE. Jaffe is still
adversely affected by the events that befell her in that novel and
is making efforts to deal with them. Daniel Ames from THE ASSOCIATE
also makes a cameo appearance, but this is primarily Jaffe's book.
Jaffe is an interesting character, but in TIES THAT BIND, she tends
to get lost among the more interesting people and events around
her.

There aren't a lot of sympathetic characters in TIES THAT BIND. The
bad guys are really bad and as is often the case, they're more
interesting than the white hats. Jon Dupre, a violent pimp accused
of murdering Senator Harold Travis, is a world-class scumbag. It's
difficult to let your sense of justice rise to the occasion and see
him acquitted of a crime for which he might be wrongfully accused.
However, the evidence against him looks strong and, while in police
custody, he kills his court-appointed attorney. To paraphrase Tom
Sawyer's Aunt Polly, he wouldn't miss a lick if he rode the
lightning, even if it was for the wrong crime.

There accordingly isn't a lot of tension for any sort of race
against time to find the real killer. On top of that, Travis is an
extortionist and a murderer in his own right, so his death is not
going to elicit any particular sympathy, one way or the other. When
Jaffe is requested by the court to take over his defense, it looks
like an uphill battle for her. When she begins to investigate
Dupre's alibi and claims of innocence, however, she is pressured
--- violently --- to drop her investigation and let justice take
its course. What is interesting here is what the investigation
ultimately uncovers, which is a conspiracy that has existed for
decades and that links Travis to a mysterious group of public
officials and drug lords. As Jaffe nears the surprising truth, she
brings danger closer to herself and those she loves, even as the
truth that she and her client is seeking comes from a totally
unexpected source.

Margolin's plot doesn't always hang together perfectly. The method
by which the surprise ending is effected, in particular, is
somewhat of a stretch and requires some suspension of disbelief,
though it is ultimately quite satisfying. Overall, Margolin remains
an exciting writer of great economy with the ability to keep
readers turning pages as fast as they are capable of reading. TIES
THAT BIND ultimately continues Margolin's unbroken string of
riveting, spellbinding novels that are almost impossible to put
down without finishing.

Reviewed by on January 23, 2011

Ties That Bind
by Phillip Margolin

  • Publication Date: November 30, -0001
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch
  • ISBN-10: 0060083255
  • ISBN-13: 9780060083250