The Third Victim: a twisty legal thriller of goodness

The Third victim book review

What is this about?: Robin Lockwood has joined a new firm and found herself in the middle of a murder trial that is the least of her worries. Her boss is having memory problems, and her client is an ass. But wait, there’s more…

What else is this about?: There’s a reason this is called the Robin Lockwood series and Margolin does an excellent job setting up a foundation in this book of exactly why Robin Lockwood should have a spot on your TBR.


A woman stumbles onto a dark road in rural Oregon–tortured, battered, and bound. She tells a horrific story about being kidnapped, then tortured, until she finally managed to escape. She was the lucky one–two other women, with similar burns and bruises, were found dead.

The surviving victim identifies the house where she was held captive and the owner, Alex Mason–a prominent local attorney–is arrested. Although he loudly insists upon his innocence, his wife’s statements about his sexual sadism and the physical evidence found at the scene, his summer home, is damning.

Regina Barrister is a legendary criminal defense attorney, known as “The Sorceress” for her courtroom victories. But she’s got a secret, one that threatens her skill, her reputation, and, most of all, her clients. And she’s agreed to take on the seemingly impossible task of defending Alex Mason.

Robin Lockwood, a young lawyer and former MMA fighter, has just left a clerkship at the Oregon Supreme Court to work for Regina Barrister. The Alex Mason trial is her first big one, a likely death penalty case, and she’s second chair to Regina. Increasingly, she’s worried her boss’s behavior and the details in the case against their client don’t quite add up.

I wanted to read The Third Victim because Robin was an MMA fighter. It was an unexpected addition to Robin and a legal thriller to say the least, but as it turns out just one reason to enjoy this book.

Robin and Regina 

Robin is a clerk for a chief justice when she is introduced to Regina Barrister — who she basically wants to be when she grows up. Regina offers her a dream job at her legal practice and Robin is over the moon. 

Robin and Regina are similar characters — they are determined women, who made the law their life, and they’ve risen to the top of their fields. I think, perhaps, Robin could be a younger Regina in some ways, though their lives to this particular law firm took very different paths.

Robin’s MMA experience is interesting in that it shows that she’s brave, capable of kicking the crap out of people and wise enough to realise during her career when to step away from the ring. It is her outside POV into Regina’s world that shows her that something wrong with Regina’s memory. When she goes to Jeff, Regina’s long time investigator, the sense of how much the law, her hard-fought reputation means to Regina becomes clearer in his reluctance to believe such a formidable mind could be losing a battle she will simply never be able to win.

Margolin also affords readers a POV into Regina, into this woman who can command a courtroom but cannot remember her car, or where she parked it. It emphasises Regina’s fear, and why she is reluctant to face this truth and what it means. And that in turn actually makes her all the more interesting a character. 

These women, their similarities and their differences are what kept me hooked in this book — their personal stories and of course — the case.

The case 

Alex Mason stands accused of being a serial killer. He goes to trial, with Regina and Robin as counsel, and so begins the investigation into his past — his marriages and his current wife, Alison. Meredith, the third victim, escaped his clutches and led the police straight to the cabin — Mason’s cabin — where she was held.

For all intents and purposes an open and shut case, but that is hardly the end of the story.

There are twists that follow, but instead of them being thrown up to shock, Margolin gives his characters the time to investigate and lay the foundation for the final chapters of this story. I realise how many times twists are thrown up at the end of books, without completely taking the time to explain what happens after. Or leading up to revelations for that matter.

The Third Victim is completely engrossing, and I am thrilled to have found a new legal thriller series to follow.


  • I’m intrigued by the descriptions of the characters in your review. Adding to my wishlist!

  • Jen Mullen says:

    Wow–this does sound like a suspenseful adventure. Regina’s memory problems give a sad reality to the situation.

    • Verushka says:

      It really was — and Regina’s problems were dealt with to such an unexpected extent, but it works so well.

  • Kelly says:

    I love that she’s a former MMA fighter, that’s not something you come across often if at all for female characters. I’ve read quite a few with male characters. Is it that Regina has issues with her short term memory? I can’t imagine being able to keep something like that a secret, although I can imagine that most people would see her as a scatterbrained woman which is an insult to her intelligence. This sounds like a fascinating read Verushka, I’m so glad you enjoyed this. Wonderful review!

  • Robin sounds like a very interesting character. I’m intrigued by her background as a former MMA fighter. Adding this to my list of series to check out!

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