The latest legal thriller from Philip Margolin (Heartstone, The Last Innocent Man, Ties That Bind) brings back feisty defense lawyer Amanda Jaffe in Proof Positive. Last seen in 2003ís Wild Justice, Jaffe is thrown together with a bunch of characters in this story that feels all over the place.
Though certainly entertaining, Proof Positiveís lack of mystery really sacks the work of its page-turning (or rapt listening) thrills aspect. The main plot revolves around hard-working, respected forensics expert Bernard Cashman. He likes to play god, Mister Cashman does. On cases where he is the lead investigator, he manipulates evidence to send innocent people to prison, even to their deaths via of capital punishment.
This all sounds good on paper, but in execution Proof Positive is more on the quick beach book side than the action packed, edge-of-your-seat thriller side. The storyline concerning Jaffe is irrelevant to whatís really going on. The backstory on Amandaís personal life is little more than filler, doing nothing to advance the plot; the marriage falling apart should have been saved for another book.
Though the story has weak elements, there are still some solidly entertaining moments. Narrator Nanette Savard gives an excellent audio performance, handling the nuances of the story very well. Also, Margolin is particularly adept at creating despicable villains who are easy to revile and easy to remember. Some of Margolinís trademark gruesome crime scenes are vividly described; for those less inclined to enjoy stuff like this, note that Proof Positive is not as intense as an episode of CSI. But the rather cookie-cutter feel to the story will not blow away those looking for a more intense visceral read. Overall, Proof Positive is a solidly entertaining novel for those open to Margolinís different approach to the material.