Former criminal defense attorney Phillip Margolin has been
writing bestselling books for the past two decades. With 13 New
York Times bestsellers to his name --- three of which feature
lawyer Amanda Jaffe --- he now produces his most electrifying novel
The Prologue to FUGITIVE opens in 1997 with the nationally
acclaimed murder trial of Sally Pope, who is accused of having her
husband, Oregon Congressman Arnold Pope, brutally gunned down.
Defending her is Frank Jaffe, and watching in the audience is his
daughter Amanda, a law student. The result of the case is a win for
the defense as Pope is acquitted. However, Charlie Marsh, aka Guru
Gabriel Sun, had been named an accomplice and elects to flee the
country rather than face a murder trial of his own.
As the novel jumps to modern day we meet Marsh, who is now in
the employ of power-mad dictator Jean-Claude Baptiste in Batanga,
Africa. Baptiste has been labeled a brutal leader and even a
cannibal as he claims a position once held by the infamous Idi
Amin. Baptiste and his Head of Secret Police, Nathan Tuazama, have
a stranglehold on their people, and Marsh is trapped in a position
much more dangerous than the prospect of life behind bars in an
American prison. To make matters worse, Marsh has had an illicit
affair with Baptiste’s wife, Bernadette. When Marsh is shown
the tortured and mutilated body of Bernadette by her husband, he
realizes Baptiste is on to him and he must flee Batanga
Coming to the rescue is Martha Brice, Editor-In-Chief of the
U.S. publication World News. She sends young reporter
Daniel Levy to Batanga with a suitcase containing $75,000 in a
secret compartment. This money is used to pay off a mercenary who
is able to get both Marsh and Levy on a plane leaving Batanga and
bound for the U.S. Marsh realizes he will not only be pursued by
the long reach of Baptiste’s vengeance, but knows he will be
forced to face the charges that caused him to flee the U.S. as a
fugitive from justice 12 years earlier.
Brice hires Amanda Jaffe to represent Charlie Marsh/Guru Gabriel
Sun, and they work out a deal whereby he will surrender to Oregon
D.A. Karl Burdett and face trial by jury. Marsh has continued to
claim his innocence in the violent assassination of Pope. However,
billionaire Arnold Pope Sr. has never forgiven Sally or Marsh and
will go to any lengths to see that justice is finally served in the
murder of his son (who he planned on grooming for U.S. President).
During the trial and ongoing witness interviews, Levy is along for
the ride and taking notes that he hopes to turn into the expose
novel of the decade.
As Jaffe launches her own investigation into the circumstances
and individuals surrounding the Pope murder case, she begins to
uncover a tangled web of lies and deceit that stretches deeper than
she ever could have imagined. Additionally, she enlists the aide of
her father, still a criminal attorney in their firm, and discovers
he may have had a less than professional relationship with his
former client. The action is fast-paced throughout as there are
several attempts on Marsh’s life prior to the new trial.
Jaffe has her hands full as she does not know who is trying to kill
him --- Arnold Pope Sr., Nathan Tuazama of Batanga, or possibly the
actual murderer of Arnold Pope who needs to eliminate the final tie
to revealing his or her identity.
With FUGITIVE, Phillip Margolin has created a novel that
instantly engages the reader and will hold you on the edge of your
seat right up to the shocking conclusion, which contains a twist
most will not see coming. I only wish the book had been 100 pages
longer because all the characters are so interesting I wanted to
know so much more about their individual backgrounds and motives.
FUGITIVE is Margolin at his best and a summer/beach read not to be
missed by thriller fans.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on January 22, 2011