“The Darkest Place”

Accountability, ownership, surrogacy, murder

There is something strange and terrible in Profit Oregon where Robin Lockwood is a high-profile attorney. In addition to her lucrative private practice, Lockwood also takes court-appointed assignments because she believes that everyone is entitled to a good attorney; even the most despicable defendants need good representation. An unimaginable personal loss crushes her, and Robin seeks refuge with her family in Elk Grove. Unfortunately, the strangeness and terribleness oozes across the miles with her.

“The Darkest Place” unfolds in several separate storylines. In Oregon, a prominent citizen is murdered; of course his wife is the initial suspect since they were in the middle of a bitter divorce. The wife is also a police officer, and the husband has a complicated past and made powerful enemies.  Across the miles in Elk Grove, a couple is seeking a surrogate to carry their child. Things do not go as planned, and the surrogate with a “problematic” background forcibly takes the infant from parents. Lockwood is called upon to give legal advice.  What is the difference between buying a baby and finding a surrogate mother and paying her expenses? Is it kidnapping when a birth mother retrieves her biologic child from the parents?

Margolin expertly develop these stories independently. As events evolve, the time frame is conveniently listed for readers in each section. The characters are multifaceted, and readers recognize the complexity of the situations.  Details are carefully constructed, and the multiple paths converge with unexpected and tragic consequences. “The Darkest Place” is the fifth book in Margolin’s continuing series featuring Robin Lockwood, but new readers will easily follow the gripping events and intricate stories. Any needed background information is seamlessly included in the narrative.  I received a review copy of “The Darkest Place” from Phillip Margolin Minotaur Books and Macmillan Publishing. I also listened to the audiobook narrated by Thérèse Plummer. I found both versions compelling, but somewhat different. The print book experience was concise, tightly organized, and persuasive. The complex details were strong and compelling. The audio book was a more dynamic experience, one filled with emotions, conflict, and uncertainty.