Author: Phillip Margolin
Original language: English
Inside a cabin tucked away in the Oregon woods a grisly scene awaits investigating police. Arrested soon after for the heinous crime, Vincent Cardoni—a brilliant surgeon with a history of violence and drug abuse—hires Portland’s top attorney, Frank Jaffe, to defend him against a seemingly insurmountable pile of evidence.
Jaffe’s daughter, Amanda—a young lawyer getting her first taste of criminal defense—wonders whether she’s representing an innocent man or using her considerable skills to set a monster free. Then Cardoni disappears under bizarre circumstances.
Four years later the slaughter begins again. But is it Cardoni plying his gruesome trade, or the work of another equally brilliant, equally inspired killer? And can Amanda and policeman Bobby Vasquez hunt the elusive maniac down before they themselves fall victim to a psychopath’s terrible hunger?
When a killing field is unearthed in the Oregon woods, it’s linked to a Portland surgeon whose increasingly aggressive behavior and explosive temper have already drawn the attention of his colleagues. Neophyte attorney Amanda Jaffe takes second chair to her father, a successful criminal lawyer retained by Dr. Vincent Cardoni when he is charged with multiple counts of murder. The victims have one thing in common: they are missing vital organs, which were clearly harvested by an expert surgeon. In this explosive and fast-paced suspense thriller, the forensic evidence against Cardoni is so convincing that even after his acquittal on a technicality, the reader, like Amanda, is sure of his guilt. And when a similar field of mutilated bodies turns up years later, Cardoni is again the primary suspect. But Cardoni has disappeared, and this time it’s his former wife, Justine Castle, who’s implicated in the new crimes, and Amanda who’s retained as the lead attorney in the case.
The particulars of the killings are so similar to the first set of murders that Amanda is convinced Cardoni is involved. When he is found to be working at the same hospital where he was once a promising surgeon (this time as a custodian and under an assumed name), she draws the logical conclusion. But when she finds Cardoni’s severed hand at the scene of the crimes, she is forced to rethink the assumptions on which her defense of the doctor’s ex-wife is based. Could Justine, in fact, be the killer? Author Phillip Margolin’s newest book moves at an almost frantic pace. Bodies pile up, evidence mounts, and everything points to Cardoni’s guilt until the end, a stunner that surprises Amanda as well as the reader. This chilling, deftly crafted novel will hold the reader’s attention to the last page.