cover image The Darkest Place: A Robin Lockwood Novel

The Darkest Place: A Robin Lockwood Novel

Phillip Margolin. Minotaur, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-25844-1

Bestseller Margolin’s mundane fifth Robin Lockwood novel (after 2021’s A Matter of Life and Death) takes Robin, a well-respected Portland, Ore., defense attorney, home to Elk Grove, “a very conservative farming community in the Midwest,” after a personal tragedy. Cloistered with her grief, Robin begins to revive when a local lawyer asks for her help with an unusual case. Marjorie Loman is accused of kidnapping the baby for whom she was a surrogate and assaulting the adoptive parents. Working on her defense, Robin discovers that Marjorie has an arrest warrant back in Oregon in connection with the torture and murder of her husband, Joel, with whom she was involved in a contentious divorce and who had wiped out their joint bank accounts. Joel also had been embezzling millions from his company and was being threatened by gangsters. Slow-moving courtroom scenes in Elk Grove and in Oregon simply regurgitate the uninspired plot points. The fully rounded Robin appeals, but other characters come across as caricatures. Margolin has done better. Agent: Jennifer Weltz, Jean V. Naggar Literary. (Mar.)