Phillip Margolin is the author of several bestselling legal thriller novels, including Gone But Not Forgotten, The Last Innocent Man, Wild Justice, and Proof Positive. With four series and close to 20 standalone legal thrillers written so far, he is one of the best authors in the genre, along with John Grisham, Steve Martini, Robert K. Tannenbaum, and Michael Connelly.
Here are the Phillip Margolin books in order for each of his series and standalone novels. The series are listed from the latest one to the oldest.
New Phillip Margolin Books
Robin Lockwood Series
Madison Kincaid Mystery
with Ami Margolin Rome
- Vanishing Acts, 2011 (young adult novel)
Dana Cutler Series
Amanda Jaffe Series
Standalone Phillip Margolin Books
- Heartstone, 1978
- The Last Innocent Man, 1981
- Gone, but Not Forgotten, 1993
- After Dark, 1995
- The Burning Man, 1996
- The Undertaker’s Widow, 1998
- Angie’s Delight, 1998 (novella)
- The Jailhouse Lawyer, 1998 (novella)
- The Associate, 2001 (Amanda Jaffe also features briefly)
- Natural Suspect, 2001 (with other authors)
- Sleeping Beauty, 2004
- Lost Lake, 2005
- The Girl in the Yellow Bikini, 2006 (novella)
- The House on Pine Terrace, 2018 (novella)
- No Rest for the Dead, 2011
- Worthy Brown’s Daughter, 2014
- Woman with a Gun, 2014
Phillip Margolin Biograph
Phillip Margolin was born in 1944 in New York, USA. He attended American University in Washington, D.C where in 1965 he received a B.A. in Government. Three years later, he graduated from the New York University School of Law. In the meantime, he worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia until 1967. After graduating from law school, he began working as a criminal defense attorney, starting with the Oregon Court of Appeals in 1970, a career that he kept for the next 25 years. Over the years he handled over 30 murder cases, some of which he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
As a child, he grew up with Earl Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason books, which turned out to become his inspiration for going to law school in the first place and then to practice criminal law.
In 1974, he published his first short story titled The Girl in the Yellow Bikini. While working as a defense attorney, he also wrote and published two standalone novels, Heartstone in 1978 which was nominated for an Edgar Award, and The Last Innocent Man in 1981 (this book was also made into a movie where the author himself made a cameo appearance). It was not until the early 1990s, however, that he really began focusing more on writing books. During a dinner party, someone asked him if he could see himself representing Adolf Hitler if he came to him to ask for a lawyer. Ths discussion gave him an idea for a book which in 1993 was published under the title Gone, But Not Forgotten. It was the author’s third standalone novel. It remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for 10 weeks, reaching even a 3rd position at times.
This third book was the catalyst for the author to eventually retire from law, a career which he actually loved, to devote his rest working time to writing books. This very book was also the first where the author introduced a strong female protagonist, something that he would be well-known for in his later novels. He based the main character on his wife at the time, Doreen (who eventually succumbed to cancer in 2007). In an interview, Phillip Margolin said this about his wife: “She wasn’t just the best lawyer I’ve ever known, she was the best human being I’ve ever met.”
Due to the author’s extensive knowledge and background in matters of the law, his novels are well researched, well crafted, and effortlessly mix real facts about justice with a suspenseful and tense storyline.
Between 2016 and 2018, there was a 2-year absence since he changed from HarperCollins to St. Martin’s Press. In 2018 the author came back to a new first book, The Third Victim, in his latest series about Robin Lockwood, which continues even in 2020 with A Reasonable Doubt.
For The Third Victim, he did a lot of research about Alzheimer’s Disease, including allowing the director of the Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Cente to read the book to make sure the facts are all correct. This disease was also the inspiration for the book’s main idea, since more than one of the author’s family members have it.
An additional important theme in the Phillip Margolin books is the notion of abused women, and this also goes back to his times as a young defense attorney when in 1979 he actually pioneered the battered woman syndrome defense, which has become a standard in such legal cases, used even today when battered women are on trial.
In one of his standalone books, The Associate, he used the idea of junk science where science can be misused in a major product liability case.
Most of the Phillip Margolin books have several twists and turns, and they usually end in a surprise turn of events that not many readers see coming.
Praise for Phillip Margolin
What makes his books interesting is the ability to intertwine facts about the justice system within a riveting plot. (Military Press)
The Third Victim is one book you will not be able to put down.” (Bookreporter)
A master of plot and pacing-and one of those rare authors who can create a genuinely surprising ending. (Lisa Scottoline)