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A magician linked to three murders and suspicious deaths years ago disappears in the middle of his new act in New York Times bestseller Phillip Margolin’s latest thriller featuring Robin Lockwood
Robin Lockwood is a young criminal defense attorney and partner in a prominent law firm in Portland, Oregon. A former MMA fighter and Yale Law graduate, she joined the firm of legal legend Regina Barrister not long before Regina was forced into retirement by early onset Alzheimer’s.
One of Regina’s former clients, Robert Chesterfield, shows up in the law office with an odd request—he’s seeking help from his old attorney in acquiring patent protection for an illusion. Chesterfield is a professional magician of some reknown and he has a major new trick he’s about to debut. This is out of the scope of the law firm’s expertise, but when Robin Lockwood looks into his previous relationship with the firm, she learns that twenty years ago he was arrested for two murders, one attempted murder, and was involved in the potentially suspicious death of his very rich wife. At the time, Regina Barrister defended him with ease, after which he resumed his career as a magician in Las Vegas.
Now, decades later, he debuts his new trick—only to disappear at the end. He’s a man with more than one dark past and many enemies—is his disappearance tied to one of the many people who have good reason to hate him? Was he killed and his body disposed of, or did he use his considerable skills to engineer his own disappearance?
Robin Lockwood must unravel the tangled skein of murder and bloody mischief to learn how it all ties together.
In the teasing prologue of bestseller Margolin's convoluted third novel featuring attorney Robin Lockwood (after 2019's The Perfect Alibi), Lockwood attends the debut of her magician client Robert Chesterfield's "greatest illusion," the Chamber of Death, which involves a locked coffin, at a Portland, Ore., theater. Three years earlier, Lockwood attended a dress rehearsal of the act, which "ended in a truly bizarre manner," at Chesterfield's seaside manor. This time, things also don't go as planned, as screams emerging from the coffin are followed by the discovery of a male corpse, leaving Robin to wonder how murder was committed before 3,000 witnesses. Flash back to 2017, when Chesterfield seeks to hire her to patent the Chamber of Death, which she eventually agrees to do, despite having no experience with intellectual property. Another flashback, to 1997, shows that Lockwood was once suspected of a fatal poisoning. By the time the action returns to the present, the impact of the opening has been greatly diluted. Readers interested in whodunits set in the world of magic would be better served by Clayton Rawson's classic Merlini novels. 100,000-copy announced first printing.