Cover Image: Murder at Black Oaks

Murder at Black Oaks

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Member Reviews

i thoroughly enjoyed this story.  i thought the characters were believable and relevant.  dialog was smart and on-point.
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Murder at Black Oaks is the 6th Robin Lockwood novel, but this one was very different from the previous books I have read and/or listened to in this series. In this book, an innocent man was convicted and the prosecutor that tried the case defends a man who admits to the crime. Due to attorney/client privilege, he can say nothing. He is so distraught, he quits practicing and dedicates his life to freeing wrongfully imprisoned people. When the real murderer dies, he hires Robin to free Jose Alvarez. She is invited to his home, Black Oaks, a gothic mansion that has several stories attached to it. Robin does what she is asked and Alvarez is freed. Francis Hardy invites Robin, her investigator, Alvarez and some others to his home to celebrate and ask Robin to work on some other cases for him. Shortly after they all arrive, Hardy is dead. Who killed him and why?

This was a mystery story more than a crime thriller, but there is some twists and gripping moments that make this a thriller for me. I continue to enjoy this series and I love the characters of Robin Lockwood. She is dealing with the loss of her partner in business and life after his death in the previous novel. She works through her grief thus keeping herself sane. The stories of werewolves and murders in Black Oaks keeps the gothic feel going and keeps Robin guessing about the culprit. This was a fun closed door mystery, but the legal questions make you think about some of the rules within the legal profession that do not work in the best interest of the client and those accused of a crime. I recommend this series, but probably not best to start with this one, as it is very different from the rest of the series.
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This was a fun read and I thank NetGalley, Phillip Margolin, St. Martin’s Press and Minotaur Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

The author makes no apologies for following an Agatha Christie locked-room approach to this mystery. In fact, the author sort of breaks the third wall by having characters reference being in an Agatha Christie novel. I found that to be somewhat clever and true to the form of the storyline.

Phillip Margolin writes solid mysteries. Is this one a bit more scattershot than most due to a multitude of characters? Yes. But this plot approach does excuse the use of multiple protagonists and antagonists to further the "whodunnit" style.

I've rounded my rating up from 3.5 stars to 4.0. I look forward to reading more of the Robin Lockwood series.
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My first novel by this author. New evidence leads to the release of a convict who spent decades on death row after being wrongfully convicted of murder. He and his attorney are invited to a house party at the home of the prosecutor -- a house with a (unbelievable) legendary curse. The story reminded me of an Agatha Christie tale, with murder and lots of underdeveloped suspects with questionable motives, except that this one seemed to veer off course rather quickly and overall felt unrealistic.
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A very good legal thriller which is tightly paced and has some traumatic twists. 
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Attorney Robin Lockwood is asked by retired Attorney  Hardy to meet with him at Black Oaks, the manor..  The manor is a replica of and  1600 area mansion from England.  Hardy has asked Robin to help him with his latest work, which is trying to help the wrongly accused get out of jail.
Robin has just been successful in getting  Jose Alvarez, out of jail.  the same  Jose Alvarez, who Hardy put in jail 30 years ago.  Once Robin, Jose and a small group of others arrive at the mansion, the road is washed out and everyone must stay.  As everyone is retiring for the night, Hardy is murdered in the elevator.  This has now become a locked room mystery.  Thanks netgalley
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Frank Melville had a successful career in the DA's office only to be haunted years later by the conviction of an innocent man.  Wanting to right a wrong, he hires attorney Robin Lockwood to look into the case.  Intrigued, Robin agrees to meet at his home, Black Oaks, a replica of an English Manor with a haunted past.   After taking and winning the case, she is again invited to Black Oaks to celebrate their success and discuss another possible case when a close door murder mystery turns everything upside down.
Thank you to Netgalley and Minotaur Books for the opportunity to review this novel.  If you enjoy classic murder mysteries, you will love this one.  Multiple characters at a creepy mansion with murder afoot, what is not to love.  I thought this was well written and the dénouement did not disappoint. This read as a good standalone novel, I never felt lost not reading the previous book.  I would recommend this series to anyone that enjoys mystery thrillers.
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I received a free copy from NetGalley.  Interesting set up with a lawyer wanting justice but not being able to break privilege.  Weird location.  I have not read other in the series and did okay without having done so.

Date is made up.  I feel behind on reviews.
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This book was fantastic! I really enjoyed it and it kept me guessing throughout, which is difficult for most books to do. I felt like I connected with the characters and really enjoyed the plot!
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Murder at Black Oak, to my surprise, was one of my most enjoyable reads of the year…and as my first Phillip Margolin, will certainly not be my last.  Others have already summarized the plot of this book so I shall just write like I enjoyed reading this story.  Another reviewer began his review by stating “Take 100 pieces of paper and on each one write a trope…” It was not written as a compliment.  However, my interest in this book stems from an interview Phillip Margolin had recently with The Bookmonger podcast that previews books by interesting authors. During the interview Margolin spoke about his desire to write a who-done-it that honors all the classic tropes of the genre.  So the critic hit the nail on the head with his/her criticism.  
So enjoy this mystery that includes (1) wrongly accused murderers on death row; (2) Escaped crazed murderer(s) from a nearby insane asylum; (3) dark and stormy nights; (4) a creepy British castle ( in Oregon!); (5) a disfigured butler; (6) a “locked-room” murder; and much, MUCH, more.
I checked on Goodreads and note that this book is part of a series so I shall be going to be checking out more books in the series.  For this book a big thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read and comment on Murder at Black Oak.
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Although this is a new to me author I have read the other books in this series. But I think this one is my favorite. I love the way it was set in a spooky mansion and that there were secret passage ways. If you love suspense and mysteries, I think you would like this whole series. I will also be looking for more of this author’s other stories.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.
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I am not happy with this book! First thing that bothered me is that it was never mentioned that this was part of a series. I had no clue and maybe it was my own fault but I was sooo lost. I couldnt follow it and it wasnt for me.
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I can’t give an honest review for this book because I was lost most of the way through it. I had no idea it was part of a series. I wish I would have and would have read the previous books or at least one.  They should tell us this.

I can’t say it was bad because it wasn’t. It just wasn’t for me. 

Thank you NetGalley for this ARC.
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NetGalley doesn't always provide info about books being part of a series in an obvious location, so I obviously missed that info when I was pulled in by this lovely cover!

Having not read the previous books, I misunderstood who the main character was in this story and didn't catch on until much later. That was the first interesting thing about this one.

The second is that this is a mashup of genres - legal crime, mystery, locked door mystery, and gothic. I really enjoyed where this was going when the story focused on the legal theme, righting old wrongs and working to free innocent people. Then the shift to the old, gothic house was pretty cool and I was completely invested with the story and couldn't wait to see what would happen. But then a turn into the locked door mystery genre came and went, pretty quickly I might add, and the story lost me from that point on. It all just felt rushed and a little bit silly and I couldn't get back on board with the rest of the story.

If you are looking for a fun mystery, try this one out. It probably doesn't matter if you haven't read the previous books as this could be a standalone.
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A defense attorney is hired to free a man who was wrongfully convicted of murder and has spent decades on death row. After new evidence leads to his release, he and the attorney are invited to a house party at the home of the man who had prosecuted him.the

This was unlike other books that I have read by this author, including other books in this series. It was an Agatha Christie knock-off, with a murder and multiple suspects. In addition to the released convict, there is an actor suspected of killing his wife, a girlfriend with questionable motives and a escaped homicidal maniac. Oh, and the house also has a curse. Really, the whole thing felt cheesy and I was glad that it was very short.
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Murder at Black Oaks is Philip Margolin's sixth Robin Lockwood installment. Robin Lockwood is an exceptional Defense attorney that was an MMA fighter in another life. Still reeling from the death of her fiance, Robin is asked to help free a man believed to be wrongfully convicted. The man who convicted him, Frank Melville, is the one convinced of his innocence.

Robin is invited to a replica mansion built in honor of the original Black Oaks, built in 1673 in a small English village. The original mansion was believed to be cursed due to all the rumored satanic rituals happening. The death of all who lived at Black Oaks were met with a tragic end that further fueled the belief of the curse.

Frank Melville, paralyzed from an accident that took the life of his wife Katherine, he's determined to right the wrongs of the past. His role in convicting Jose Alvarez has prompted him to call in Robin to help free him. Armed with new evidence, courtesy of Frank Melville, Robin gets Jose released.

Now that we're caught up with some backstory, we expect that there'll be roses and butterflies for all moving forward. And we'd be completely wrong. Melville invites Jose along with Robin and her staff to celebrate his release only to end up dead before the party's end.

Murder at Black Oaks begins as a locked door mystery. All in attendance at the party are suspects. Could the man that spent 30 plus years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit be the culprit? No spoilers here.

What I enjoyed about Margolin's novel is how easy it was to breeze through. Immediately the novel is engaging and due to it's fast pace, you'll find yourself at the end before you know it.

Another highlight for me with this read is that although this is the sixth in the Robin Lockwood series, Margolin offers enough of her backstory to not feel like you've been plopped into a story with a character who has no context. Robin is a genuinely likeable character. She's strong, smart, badass, and fearless. I enjoyed keeping her company for this murder mystery.

Sure, I enjoyed reading Murder at Black Oaks but it was not without it's flaws. At one point I felt that the converging storylines just didn't fit together. I had to stick with this read to see how all the stories would mesh. For much of the read, I felt this to be frustrating as it was more than obvious there were some shady people who needed to get theirs. The time spent at the mansion was great. I didn't connect as much with the read once the locked door was opened.

Overall, fans of Philip Margolin will enjoy this Lockwood installment. There's plenty of mystery and intrigue in the first half of the novel to encourage getting to the final reveal. I recommend this novel to anyone looking for a quick, interesting read that doesn't require a locked door to maintain the readers attention.

Copy provided by St. Martin's press via Netgalley
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A totally absorbing thriller, the book is  gripping from the very first page until the very end. Well plotted, the story with many layers and levels, each one more shocking than the last.Fun book to read, I enjoyed it. 
Thanks to Netgalley for chance to read.
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Full review to come on Goodreads and Amazon.  Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for a review copy.
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This is an entertaining novel that, besides a couple of murder mysteries, explores the ethical aspects of attorneys, both prosecutors and those on the defense. Client attorney privilege is a big factor. While that may sound boring, the novel was really interesting. It read quickly and generally held my interest. After the first murders, I felt the plot lagged a bit. It picked up again near the end. The villain identification included the revelation of information readers did not know ahead of time. I did feel cheated out of trying to solve the crime as Robin knew things we readers did not.

I found there was some repetition as Melville receives a confession from a client and then retells it twice, verbatim. We readers know what was said the first time so don't need to hear it again. Something else Margolin did was start a chapter with a nightmare without telling readers. I don't like that technique of inciting suspense. Also, the setting was perhaps a bit unrealistic but I guess wealth has its architectural privileges.

This is a good exploration of the mind of an attorney when he finds he has sent the wrong man to prison and perhaps execution. While this is part of a series, I have not read any others and I thought it read fine on its own. I liked it.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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This is 6th in an exceptional legal mystery series featuring young criminal defense attorney Robin Lockwood. A Yale Law graduate and ex-MMA fighter, she's a partner in a Portland, Oregon law firm.

Frank Melville is haunted by knowing that a young man (Jose) he tried was sentenced to death 30 years before, and asks for Robin's help to clear him.

When she succeeds, Melville invites Robin and Jose to a celebration at his manor in the Oregon mountains, Black Oaks.

What follows involves 'a spooky mansion, an escaped madman, and a locked-room mystery'.
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