Phillip Margolin is one of the few authors in the world that has had all of his novels on the New York Times bestsellers list. A criminal defense attorney for over twenty years, Margolin has created a series of riveting legal thrillers rooted in law and splashed with absolute mystery.
Phillip Margolin was born in 1944 in New York City. In 1965 he received a bachelor’s degree Government from the American University in Washington D.C. After college, Margolin went to Liberia to work for the Peace Corps as a volunteer in 1967. In 1968 he married another defense attorney, Doreen Stamm. They later have 2 children. Three years later, he graduated from the New York University School of Law in 1970. Inspired by the Perry Mason novels, he worked as a criminal defense lawyer for more than 25 years. In 1970, she worked for the Oregon Court of Appeals.
In 1974, Margolin found the time to write his first short story named, “The Girl in the Yellow Bikini.” In 1996, Margolin finally decided to retire from law and become a full time writer. Between 1996 and 2007, Margolin had written 12 books. He uses the works of authors like Mitchell Smith (Stone City), Joseph Conrad, and Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace) as inspiration for his writing style and story lines.
He went to law school at night. He worked his way through his last two years of law school by teaching at a middle school in the South Bronx of New York City. After law school , his first job was as a law clerk with Herbert Schwab. As an appellate attorney, Margolin appeared before the Oregon Supreme Court, the US Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the Oregon Court of Appeals. Phillip Margolin uses his experiences as a defense lawyer to bring his characters to life. As a defense attorney, he has experience handling various federal and state cases. He has represented more than 30 people charged with murder, some of which faced the death penalty. Margolin was the first attorney in Oregon to use the Battered Women’s Syndrome to defend an abused woman who stood trial for the death of her husband.
In 1996, Phillip Margolin decided to become a full time writer. Every single novel he has written have landed on the New York Times bestseller list. His first novel, Heartstone, was nominated for an Edgar Award in the best original paperback category in 1978. His second novel, The Last Innocent Man, was sold to HBO. His novel, Gone But Not Forgotten, was turned into a mini-series and was sold to more than 25 foreign publishers. Phillip Margolin had an additional 13 more novels make the New York Times Bestseller list. He has also published several non-fiction articles and short stories in other publications. Two of his short stories: The Jailhouse Lawyer and The House on Pine Terrace, were both included in The Best American Mystery Stories anthology. Since 2007, Margolin has been on the Board of Literary Arts; an organization that supports the Oregon Book Awards, Portland Arts and Lectures, and the Writers in the Schools program.
In addition to his literary support, Phillip Margolin is also a passionate supporter of children’s achievement programs. Since 1996, he has served on the Board of the Chess for Success non-profit charity. The charity uses chess to teach youth in Title I schools study skills.
Wild Justice (2000)
This is the first of a 5 book series starring criminal defense attorney, Frank Jaffe and his daughter, Amanda Jaffe. In this haunting thriller, brilliant but trouble surgeon, Vincent Cardoni is arrested for a heinous crime deep in the Oregon woods. Facing a pile of evidence, the surgeon hires Portland’s best criminal defense attorney, Frank Jaffe and his daughter, to save his life. Inside a cabin tucked away in the Oregon woods a grisly scene awaits investigating police.
Amanda Jaffe is an eager young criminal defense attorney who wonders if Cardoni is guilty of the horrible crime. Then all of a sudden, Cardoni disappears. Four years later, the same gruesome slaughter happens again and Amanda, with the help of policeman Bobby Vasquez, track down Cardoni or a dangerous copycat.
Ties that Bind (2003)
This is the second installment of the popular Amanda Jaffe series written by Phillip Margolin, Now a rising star in the legal world, Amanda has been left traumatized and afraid after battling a psychopath in the very same trial that made her famous. Wanting to do anything but be in the public eye, Amanda takes a case that no other lawyer will come near. The defendant, Jon Dupre, owns an upscale call-girl service, and is accused of killing a high-profile US senator. Amanda is intrigued by Dupre’s insistence of an elusive and powerful ultra secret society of men that killed the Senator instead. Amanda is skeptical of Dupre’s story until she receives warnings to stop pursuing the case, and more people start to die.
Television and Film Adaptations
Early in his career, Phillip Margolin found success on television and the big screen. His second novel, The Last Innocent Man, was turned into a movie by HBO. The film aired on HBO in 1987. It was directed by Roger Spottiswoods and starred Ed Harris as the main character, Harry Nash. The film received a good review and put Margolin’s name on the map in the film world. The movie also starred Roxanne Hart, Meshach Taylor, and David Suchet.
Margolin’s novel, Gone, But Not Forgotten, was adapted into a mini-series in 2004. The novel was set in Portland, Oregon but the TV adaptation takes place in Sacramento, California. The miniseries starred Brooke Shields (Betsy Tannenbaum) and Lou Diamond Phillips (Alan Page).
Phillip Margolin was a successful criminal defense attorney, who has represented clients in court for over twenty years. An avid reader and lover of literature, this children’s education advocate decided to leave behind criminal law and become a full time writer. His novels have sold millions of copies around the world, and have been translated into multiple languages. In writing, as in law, Phillip Margolin has surpassed even his own expectations. All of his novels have landed on the New York Times bestseller list, and two have been adapted for television. Margolin continues to write riveting and thought provoking legal thrillers, with the release of Worthy Brown’s Daughter coming in 2014.
Books in order of publication:
Amanda Jaffe Books
|Ties That Bind||(2003)|
Dana Cutler Books
|Sleight of Hand||(2013)|
Madison Kincaid Book
Robin Lockwood Books
|The Third Victim||(2018)|
|The Perfect Alibi||(2019)|
|A Reasonable Doubt||(2020)|
|The Last Innocent Man||(1981)|
|Gone, But Not Forgotten||(1993)|
|The Burning Man||(1996)|
|The Undertaker’s Widow||(1998)|
|No Rest for the Dead||(2011)|
|Worthy Brown’s Daughter||(2014)|
|Woman with a Gun||(2014)|