Friday, May 9, 2008

Executive Privilege-Phillip Margolin

Executive Privilege
Phillip Margolin
Harper, May 20 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 9780061236211

Oregon attorney Brad Miller works pro bono as he files an appeal for convicted serial killer Clarence Little, who sits on death row. Interestingly Clarence does not deny the murders except one; he insists he never killed Laurie Erickson, the babysitter to the children of former Oregon Governor Christopher Farrington, who now resides in the White House. An associate lawyer, Miller assumes his client is lying for some unknown reason, but soon uncovers proof that someone else killed Laurie to bury with her Farrington’s affair as he made his run for the presidency.

In the DC area, attorney Dale Perry through intermediary former local cop Andy Zipay hires private investigator Dana Cutler to conduct surveillance of college student Charlotte Walsh. Although the sleuth knows Zipay left the force under a cloud and Perry is a pig, the money is too good to ignore. He trails her to a rendezvous with Farrington. The next day she is found dead, a victim of the DC ripper. On two coasts, two small time guys have strong circumstantial evidence that someone in the White House is invoking a special brand of EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE to protect POTUS from scandal. However, trying to obtain sold evidence and staying alive seems impossible.

This is an exhilarating serial killer political thriller as a White House operative or two take the Exterminator’s dirty tricks handbook in which the short term end always justified the means to the extreme; in this case killing anyone who might cause problems for the president. Although the premise seems as if the media would go on a feeding frenzy and expose the serial killings connection, which would ruin the plot; but then again no one except the bloggers blinked when the NYT reported the Pentagon used the military experts to propagandize the war. Anyway, fans will enjoy two regular people trying to stay alive while also seeking proof that a powerful killer uses the White House to cleanse any potential scandal.

Harriet Klausner