CAPITOL MURDER is the final installment in Phillip Margolin’s Washington Trilogy and features the return of private investigator Dana Cutler and attorney Brad Miller. They are working on opposite sides of the fence, and the resulting tensions make for compelling reading.
"I don’t believe we have seen the last of some of these characters, including an extremely charming and manipulative antagonist who has been creeping out readers throughout the run of the series. Margolin, who has had a long and successful run for close to two decades, just seems to be getting warmed up."
While exciting on its own, your enjoyment of the book will be enhanced by reading SUPREME JUSTICE and EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE, the first two installments of the series, if you have not done so already. As for the present, Brad Miller is a newly minted staff member of Jack Carson, a U.S. Senator from Oregon who is a high-ranking member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Carson has a problem; to put it delicately, he cannot resist a certain type of woman. He finds himself in an extremely compromising position as a result, one that has serious repercussions for national security. In the middle of a carefully plotted, high-profile terrorist attack, there is nothing he can do about it. To make matters worse, a dead body is found in his Georgetown home.
The state of the victim leads law enforcement to conclude that the crime is the work of convicted serial killer Clarence Little, whose conviction was overturned thanks to the work of --- guess who? --- Brad Miller, his defense attorney. Carson disappears; he supposedly is in Oregon, yet when Cutler investigates, he cannot be found. When he ultimately does surface, his story does not jive with the witness’. Cutler does some digging, which she is very good at, and uncovers the truth. Miller is torn. He feels loyalty to Carson, yet it’s becoming increasingly obvious that he’s backing the wrong horse.
The various plot threads start to come together, even as the terrorists begin a fateful countdown that will eclipse the attack on the Twin Towers. At the same time, Margolin drops surprises, and then explosive revelations, into the plot, right up until the last few pages. Don’t be surprised when you see who doesn’t make it to the end of the book, and who does… and why.
What might be next? In addition to dropping a bombshell at the end, Margolin leaves some plot threads dangling, which I assume will be resolved or tied up somewhere down the road. Perhaps he is planning a Portland Trilogy or something along those lines. Regardless of what he does, I don’t believe we have seen the last of some of these characters, including an extremely charming and manipulative antagonist who has been creeping out readers throughout the run of the series. Margolin, who has had a long and successful run for close to two decades, just seems to be getting warmed up.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on April 19, 2012