A woman stumbles onto a dark road in rural Oregon–tortured, battered, and bound. She tells a horrific story about being kidnapped, then tortured, until she finally managed to escape. She was the lucky one–two other women, with similar burns and bruises, were found dead.
The surviving victim identifies the house where she was held captive and the owner, Alex Mason–a prominent local attorney–is arrested. Although he loudly insists upon his innocence, his wife’s statements about his sexual sadism and the physical evidence found at the scene, his summer home, is damning.
Regina Barrister is a legendary criminal defense attorney, known as “The Sorceress” for her courtroom victories. But she’s got a secret, one that threatens her skill, her reputation, and, most of all, her clients. And she’s agreed to take on the seemingly impossible task of defending Alex Mason.
Robin Lockwood, a young lawyer and former MMA fighter, has just left a clerkship at the Oregon Supreme Court to work for Regina Barrister. The Alex Mason trial is her first big one, a likely death penalty case, and she’s second chair to Regina. Increasingly, she’s worried her boss’s behavior and the details in the case against their client don’t quite add up.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5 very solid stars!
First of all, thank you so much to Minotaur Books for sending me a review copy of this book! All opinions are my own.
This was my first time reading a novel by Phillip Margolin and I have to say I was very impressed. The Third Victim sucked me in immediately, and I thought it kept up a very good pace throughout the novel. Some people didn’t like how direct the character descriptions were, but I didn’t really mind that. I mean I know you would expect an experienced writer not to do that, but I would much rather have “Tom has black hair, blue eyes, and a strong jaw” than no description at all. So that didn’t take away from the book for me.
The Third Victim jumps from a bunch of different perspectives, sometimes quite a bit throughout chapters, but Margolin somehow kept it from getting confusing. The majority of the book also felt very police/procedural to me as most of the viewports are told from cops or lawyers. I actually found this very interesting, but I don’t think a lot of people would think of it as a fast-paced thriller.
I don’t want to say a whole lot about the plot, or the different plotlines; but the book mainly focuses on what happens after a woman is found in the middle of a road wearing nothing but a shirt and underwear, and sporting a bunch of cigarette burns and facial contusions. I didn’t actually think the big reveal was all that surprising, but I still really enjoyed this book.
Final Thought: This is going to be another book that isn’t for everyone; note very straightforward character descriptions and some descriptions of abuse. However, I was so interested in the story, and it ended up being quite informational in the way the author explains things. It also has short chapters which is something that’s always big on my list, plus it read SO quickly. I definitely think it is a book worth checking out, and I cannot wait to read more from Margolin.
The Third Victim in 3 words: Absorbing, Literal, & Informative