The Darkest Place

Robin Lockwood Book 5

Phillip Margolin

Minotaur Books

March 8th, 2022

The Darkest Place by Phillip Margolin brings the reader right into the courtroom.  As a former defense attorney, he uses his personal experience to create a suspenseful trial. There he explores the two sides of the Shaken Baby Syndrome and if postpartum psychosis really causes paranoid delusions. 

“I got the idea from the Oregon Criminal Defense Organization is a fabulous group that I have been a member of for centuries.  Even though I stopped practicing law in 1996 I stayed a member.  They have seminars.  There was one on junk science which fascinates me.  One of the lectures is about the Shaken Baby Syndrome. Because there are two sides, I wanted to write a trial about it where both sides are put on display.  I also wanted to have Robin return home to her roots.”

The title plays into the personal story of the main character, Robin Lockwood, when she suffers a devasting loss.  Anyone who has lost a loved one knows they can go down to a very dark place. The impact on Robin’s life has brought on depression. She goes home to gain solace from her mother who chastises her and reminds her that she was a prominent defense attorney, Yale graduate, and a former MMA fighter.  Her mother sympathizes with Robin’s loss but knows she must make a new life for herself. 

“This is my seventh book with her. All are stand alone.  In my first book, she was a young lawyer who gets a dream job with a brilliant attorney that shows signs of dementia.  She used to be a professional fighter.  She grows up with older brothers who are wrestlers. Robin is brilliant.  Now she is grief stricken, depressed, and a survivor.” 

As she is recovering, she is asked to assist on a case in her hometown. It involves the defendant being accused of kidnapping, abusing a baby, and assaulting a couple. Marjorie Loman is accused of kidnapping the baby for whom she was a surrogate and assaulting the adoptive parents. Working on her defense Robin gets experts to disavow the Shaken Baby Syndrome. 

“It is a child who might have brain damage. But there are no bruises on them. No broken bones.  How is it explained? After reading about it, I do not think it should be used in court. No one can have any scientific proof because it can never be done.  The biomechanical experiments showed that no one can generate enough force to cause those types of injuries.  Scientific theory should never be used, and this one can never be tested with actual children. Of course, babies should not be shaken, but that is not the question.  What must be asked, will the severity of the shaking cause injuries?”

Robin also 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.

This story has it all including kidnapping, murder, assault, surrogacy, shaken baby syndrome, theft, divorce, postpartum depression, embezzlement, and stolen identity. Margolin puts some twists in to make the story even more interesting.



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.