Cover Image: Murder at Black Oaks

Murder at Black Oaks

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Member Reviews

Murder at Black Oaks is an atmospheric novel that takes us on a dark and brooding journey. Robin Lockwood is a strong and likeable character, an attorney with a conscience. This book travels through several mysterious encounters, and interesting outcomes. An enjoyable read with an unexpected story line and interesting characters that keeps you turning pages right to the end.

A copy of Murder at Black Oaks, A Robin Lockwood Novel by Phillip Margolin was provided to me by NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for an honest review.
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The setting of this book in a haunted and creepy mansion is incredible. I really enjoyed the setup and characters. The mystery is easy to read but still very interesting. I enjoyed this book and the other books from this series
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This book reads like a game of Clue set in a haunted house...with lawyers.  Professor Plum in the library with a silver handled wolf claw. While it was a good read I could not help but think that Phillip Margolin is certainly capable of better. If you like Clue and older mystery writers this is for you.
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So I had no idea that this book was a part of a series when I read it. I wish I would have know that before hand because I really do not like reading books in the middle of a series. Yes this was on me because I guess I could have looked it up before I read it. However, this was an okay murder mystery book. It is exactly what you would expect in this kind of book. I do not think I will read the other books though. But this did keep me entrained while reading it.
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Robin Lockwood is hired by former ADA Frank Melville to help free an innocent man. When Robin wins the case she joins him at his cursed isolated mansion in the Oregon mountains with an assortment of other guests. But things start to go wrong. And before to long Robin finds herself unraveling another mystery. 

I didn’t read the first 5 books in the Robin Lockwood series so I went in to this completely blind. That being said I don’t think I was missing anything. Enough of Robin’s backstory is explained in this that it’s 100% necessary to read the previous books. This is a murder mystery and for the most part it was mysterious, and murdery. The dialogue was stiff in places and eye-rollingly…corny…stereotypical. There were also a few places where what the author wrote was just a touch problematic. In my opinion he points out peoples races/ethnicities in a way that’s unnecessary and unneeded for the plot, and the way he says it. Oof. 

This was a decent murder mystery but I don’t know that I’ll read the rest of the series based off reading this one. Robin’s character is a little haughty and I didn’t find her particularly likeable .
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Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the copy of Murder At Black Oaks. Robin is a great character and I’m sorry I didn’t know about this series a long time ago, because I am now a fan. The story was pretty good, but there were parts of the story that felt unnecessary.  I have read many books by Mr. Margolin, although it has been at least 20 years since the last one, so I knew the writing would be superb so I will happily seek out the other books in this series!
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
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Defense Attorney Robin Lockwood is invited by the retired District Attorney Frank Melville to his home in the mountains called Black Oaks. Frank needed help on a previous case and Robin helped him successfully. Then Frank is found murdered at a celebration party for the case, and all of the guests are suspects. Who killed Frank?

This one was right up my alley. The setting of a creepy old manor with a haunted history is perfect for me. And the story line reminded me of the TV show, Murder She Wrote, which I also loved. Brilliant writing from Phillip Margolin and I would definitely read more of his books in the future. In fact, MURDER AT BLACK OAKS is the 6th book in the Robin Lockwood series, but I read it as a stand alone and I loved it!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.

This review will be posted to my Instagram Blog ( in the near future.
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**Thank you, Net Galley + St. Martin’s Press for the eARC!**

I want to preface this by saying this is my first time reading Philip Margolin. “But this is book 4 in the series!” I know, I know. However, I didn’t realize this until halfway through! The good thing is that from what I could tell, the previous installments in the “Robin Lockwood” series didn’t  impact my comprehension of “Murder At Black Oaks!” So if an atmospheric house, like Gallant by V.E. Schwab became a closed-door murder mystery/legal thriller, this one is definitely worth your time. 

“But what is it about? Come on!!!!!” 
Ok, I hear you, we start off watching Frank Melville prosecute (and successfully help convict) Jose Alvarez at the height of his career. Though, something doesn’t feel right… Shortly after, Frank changes paths, working in torts. Jumping forward 30 years later and adding some trauma to the Melville’s, Robin Lockwood is summoned to Black Oaks, a replication of the eponymous mansion from England haunted by the curse of a werewolf that invokes tragedy to all who reside. Here, Robin’s goal is to help uncover whether Jose Alvarez was wrongfully convicted when murder strikes. Between opening cold cases, and determining who the murderer is, Margolin does an excellent job of keeping the pace and maintaining my *short* attention span. 

Murder at Black Oaks isn’t like anything I’ve heard about or personally ever read which I loved. Closed-door murder mysteries usually don’t hit the mark for me, but this nod to the iconic writers incorporated a legal thriller seamlessly. I was especially a fan of Margolin including a focus on wrongful convictions for those underrepresented coming from typically marginalized communities. The trial scenes also reminded me of Mickey Haller from Michael Connelly which I enjoyed as well! 

I need a preface for the next thing I’m going to say.  This is an unfinished copy, so this critique isn't concrete. There were some times when I felt that the dialogue felt a bit flat— where there was info-dumping when I would’ve preferred information withheld. Additionally, there were times when it felt like the dialogue homogenized the characters; where the things they said didn’t feel like it was different characters speaking, or responses felt unlike something *I* would expect them to say.. It’s important to note that this didn’t detract from the overall story, and didn’t make me pull my hair out! I’m also not familiar with Margolin's work, so if this is commonplace, it’s not something that’s a deterrent from reading his other work.
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Philip Margolin does an exquisite job with legal thrillers. He has several character series I've read; Defense Attorney Robin Lockwood is one of my favorites. She a former MMA champion and a brilliant legal mind. In all the books of this series, she comes up with clever solutions for her clients even Perry Mason wouldn’t think of. In Murder at Black Oaks (Minotaur Books 2022), Book 6 in the Robin Lockwood series, she is asked by the DA who put an innocent man in prison thirty years ago to free him. There are extenuating circumstances why the DA couldn't reveal the man's innocence long ago, all of which complicate Robin's job. Robin performs her legal magic, manages to free the man, but for some unknown reason, the DA is murdered. Now, Robin and her investigator end up involved in solving that mystery along with the police.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, despite the occasional labored writing such as:

“Mrs. Raskin had stopped in the hallway when Robin was showing the tapestry to Jose. When Robin turned away from the tapestry, Mrs. Raskin continued down the corridor. Robin, Ken, and Jose caught up with Mrs. Raskin when she stopped in front of the staircase and the elevator. Mrs. Raskin went into the elevator, and Ken followed her. Jose started to follow Ken, but Robin stopped him. “

“Melville’s wheelchair was motorized, and he maneuvered away from the table and toward the hall. The other guests started walking toward the stairs to the upper floors. Frank had just entered the corridor outside the dining hall when the door from the kitchen opened and the caterers, a man and a woman in their late twenties, and the two waiters, walked into the corridor.”

Because I've read so many of Margolin's excellent legal thrillers, I almost think this sort of monotonous description is purposeful, maybe the voice Margolin wishes to create.

If I could change one thing about the book, it would be the ending. A reason I love reading mysteries and thrillers is to collect the clues sprinkled throughout the book and connect the dots before the lawyers and police do. Occasionally, and this is one of those, I spend an entire 350-ish pages doing that only to have the author throw a gazillion new clues in the last five pages that change everything. So while I thought I knew stuff, I didn’t know squat.

But that didn’t change my 5/5 rating.
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I really liked this book. Though I felt some parts of it were a bit obvious for a mystery,  I felt that the characters were quite intriguing. It did have a few twists and turns and it was quite fun and easy to read.    For those of you that like Cozy and camping mysteries, you will really enjoy this book.
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Well written with a lot of suspense and action that keeps your interest till the end. The characters are believable with great dialogue.  I highly recommend this book as a great read.
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I really enjoyed this mystery. Lots of murders with lots of killers....or are they?
A haunted house....a fascinating cast of characters.the road goes out. No cell service. No way in or out.

I never saw the ending coming.
A well done whodunit.
Thanks to netgalley for the arc
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This was Scooby Doo for grown-ups! So much going on and it all worked! This was a legal thriller/cheesy 80's psycho-killer horror movie/locked room mystery/old school black and white horror movie complete with an Ah-Ha! Rip-off -the -mask type reveal reminiscent of Scooby, Shaggy and "those meddling kids" all rolled into one!  Such a blast! I have been a long-time Phillip Margolin fan since the early 90's when I first read Gone But Not Forgotten. Still one of my all-time favorite thrillers, and I have read everything from him since then. When you think of Phillip Margolin's stories though, "fun"  does not usually come to mind. This one changed all that and is definitely my favorite in the Robin Lockwood series We have our heroine trying to free a man wrongly sent to prison. Everyone ends up in a spooky mansion on a hill up the mountain from an insane asylum. Oh yeah, and it's during a terrible storm!  What could possibly go wrong? Murders and mayhem ensue. I don't want to give anything away so I will just stop at highly recommending this one, although for optimum enjoyment, I think reading the whole series would definitely be worth it, although you don't have to.
On a side note, I was very pleased with the development of Robins' character. I was on the fence with the developments in the previous book and not sure how everything would go from there. This also eased my fears with that. Well done, Mr. Margolin!! Waiting not so patiently for more!

Thank you to #NetGalley for this ARC that I was more than happy to read and review! Also thank you to Phillip Margolin and St. Martin's Press/Minotaur books!
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I love all the Robin Lockwood novels and am so sad to see the series come to an end! When a former DA calls Robin to come to his house, she shows up at a strange place. Black Oats, the estate, has a dark past. Robin meets with the man and they discuss how he put a innocent man in jail. Throughout the book, Robin helps get the guy out of jail, but misfortune falls on Black Oats once again. Margolin did not disappoint!
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As a fan of Phillip Margolin’s novels, I eagerly attacked his latest effort, Murder at Black Oaks. The book has a very promising beginning with two separate trials and central to the theme is the doctrine of attorney/client confidentiality. The reader is led to a time 30 years later when an innocent man who was found guilty of a crime he did not commit is released from prison.
The prosecutor is now wheelchair bound living in a mysterious house known as Black Oaks where attorney Robin Lockwood is invited for the weekend along with the recently freed inmate and a Hollywood actor whose wife was murdered. Several others are at the house which is near a hospital for the criminally insane-from which an inmate escapes during a storm.
There are murders at Black  Oaks and this reader just didn’t care who the guilty party was. Most of the characters are uninteresting and not likable. Robin Lockwood deserves much better treatment!
I thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review an advance reader copy of this book.
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Robin Lockwood is at it again!  The story reads like an Agatha Christie novel (even references it) and like the classics, the ending will surprise you!  Keep bringing back this character!
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I have been an avid Phillip Margolin reader for over 20 years. He paints a vivid picture of place, in this book against the natural beauty of Oregon, and treats the reader to well-developed characters, both heroes and villains, that are mostly relatable at some level. “Murder at Black Oaks” assembles a varied and interesting cast of characters for a modern version of the classic locked room mystery. The story plays hard on the theme of redemption; is it possible and if so, at what cost? It also examines how the idea of “having it all “ ties  into personal satisfaction and the feeling of having had a life will lived. Unfortunately for one of our main characters, Frank Hardy, his quest for redemption ends tragically when he is murdered with a household filled with people providing a plethora of suspects. When the murderer is finally revealed, thanks to the analytical thinking and keen observations of “Rocking Robin” Lockwood, our main heroine in this series, the result is a tragic commentary on love, trust and family. I have greatly enjoyed this series and am particularly grateful to NetGalley for making this advance copy available to me.
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While I thought this book would be better, I'm sure there are many people who will enjoy it. ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.
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First off, isn't this cover fantastic? I love the dark colors and mysterious house on a cliff. This book was very fast paced and definitely keeps you on your toes and wanting to know more. I found the legend and the setting very spooky and mysterious which I loved. I would say, though, that I wish that the characters were more fully developed as I did not really connect with any of them or really get to know them all that well. I also found that this book was extremely action packed which I loved but also found a little too much. The book starts off with Frank Melville prosecuting and convicted a prisoner to which he later found out was innocent. Wracked by guilt at sending an innocent man to prison he hires a lawyer, Robin Lockwood to help him overturn the case. At a celebration, Frank himself is murdered. This leads to two other stories coming out. I would have liked each story to be its own book and getting to know the characters better. Overall, this book was enjoyable to read.
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Another well-crafted book by Phillip Margolin.  I think I’ve read all of his books over the years, and the man hasn’t lost his ability to capture the reader’s attention and hold on tight!

The first half of the story is purely legal, as prior books are.  The main character, Robin Lockwood, former MMA fighter turned lawyer, uses her legal expertise to get a man out of prison who was wrongly convicted and spent 30 years behind bars.  The next 30% takes a page from Agatha Christie (it even is mentioned in the story), well done!  The remaining part ties the rest up neatly.

This isn’t a book where you’ll figure out whodunnit quickly.  Twists and plot turns keep the reader guessing until the end.  Thoroughly enjoyed this, read in two sittings.

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book, but my opinions are my own.
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