Phillip Margolin grew up in New York City and Levittown, New York. In 1965, he graduated from
The American University in Washington, D.C. with a Bachelor's Degree in
Government. From 1965 to 1967, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West
Africa. In 1970, he graduated from New York University School of Law. During his
last two years in law school he went at night and worked his way through by
teaching junior high school in the South Bronx in New York City. His first job
after law school was a clerkship with Herbert M. Schwab, the Chief Judge of the
Oregon Court of Appeals. From 1972 until 1996, Margolin was in private practice in
Portland, Oregon, specializing in criminal defense at the trial and appellate
levels. As an appellate attorney he has appeared before the United States
Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the
Oregon Supreme Court and the Oregon Court of Appeals. As a trial attorney, he
handled all sorts of criminal cases in state and federal court and he has
represented approximately 30 people charged with homicide, including several who
have faced the death penalty. Margolin was the first Oregon attorney to use the
Battered Women's Syndrome to defend a battered woman accused of murdering her
Since 1996, Margolin has been writing full-time. Heartstone, his first novel, was nominated for an Edgar for best original paperback mystery of 1978 by the Mystery Writers of America. his second novel, The Last Innocent Man, was made into an HBO movie. Gone, But Not Forgotten has been sold to more than 25 foreign publishers and debuted as a miniseries in 2004. After Dark, The Burning Man, The Undertaker's Widow, Wild Justice, The Associate, Ties That Bind and Sleeping Beauty were also New York Times bestsellers and selections or main selections of the major book clubs.
In addition to his novels, Margolin has published short stories and non-fiction articles in magazines and law journals. His short story, The Jailhouse Lawyer, was selected for the anthology 1999, The Best American Mystery Stories.
Since 1996, Phillip Margolin has been the President and Chairman of the Board of Chess for Success, a non-profit charity that uses chess to teach study skills to elementary and middle school children in Title I schools.
This biography was last updated on 08/03/2016.
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Phillip Margolin shares insights on The Associate, and where the idea for the book came from.
One of the questions that I am most frequently asked on my book tours is,
"Where did the idea for your book come from?" The idea for The
Associate came from three unrelated events. In 1997, I was asked to be part
of a month-long promotion of thrillers in The Netherlands. As part of this
promotion, I was required to write a novella that would be published only in
Holland. The story I wrote was based on the disappearance of a court reporter in
Oregon in the late 1970s in a murder case that I was handling. I liked the
novella and I toyed with the idea of expanding it into a full-length novel, but
I was always side-tracked by the other books on which I was working.
Some time after I wrote the novella, my wife, Doreen, and I were in an art gallery in New York looking at a photo exhibition. Doreen got the idea for a story in which a person viewing a photo exhibition sees something in one of the photographs that is truly shocking. (I am being vague on purpose here because I don't want to spoil one of the surprises in The Associate).
I was a criminal defense lawyer for 25 years. One of the cases I argued in the Oregon ...
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