Review: Private investigator Dana Cutler looks into a five-year-old murder case involving a "ghost ship" that may be linked to an attack on a Supreme Court Justice in Supreme Justice, the second suspense novel in this series by Phillip Margolin.
John Finley was the captain of the "China Sea", a ship reputed to be carrying drugs and cash — a lot of each. Docked on the Columbia River in Oregon, the ship was attacked, its five crew members murdered, Finley alone escaping. But hours later, the ship has disappeared along with its dead crew — and soon thereafter, Finley is shot to death. Convicted of the crime is Sarah Woodruff, a police officer and Finley's lover. Woodruff is now on death row with an appeal pending to the Supreme Court. But someone isn't taking any chances on that appeal being successful. A justice hastily resigns and another potential swing vote on the court is assaulted, prompting Dana to pair off with law clerk Brad Miller to discover if there is a connection. What they learn, however, is troubling: Is the CIA trying to cover up some covert operation, going so far as to frame Woodruff for murder by intentionally withholding material evidence? And if so, where do they draw the line? Must the integrity of the Supreme Court be compromised in order to protect their secrets?
Supreme Justice is a first-rate political thriller, one in which conspiracy theories abound … some even plausible outside the realm of fiction. Dana Cutler makes for a terrific protagonist, appealing and energetic, intelligent and courageous, in a fast-paced plot that suits her perfectly. (The time shifts can be a bit challenging, though; the storyline jumps from the present to the past and even into the future.) Though marketed as a sequel to Executive Privilege, Supreme Justice can be read as a stand-alone thriller … and is definitely one to consider taking along on vacation this summer.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Supreme Justice.
Acknowledgment: HarperCollins provided a copy of Supreme Justice for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Supreme Justice: Washington DC, Oregon
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Supreme Justice by Phillip Margolin — A Dana Cutler Mystery
Publication Date: June 2010
List Price: $25.99