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The Burning Man

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  1,599 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews

From bestselling author Phillip Margolin, a fast-paced legal thriller packed with page-turning suspense.

Peter Hale is a young attorney struggling to make his own mark in his father's venerable law firm when he is presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. During the trial of a multimillion-dollar case, Peter's father, the lead counsel, suffers a heart attack and asks Pe

Hardcover, 344 pages
Published August 1st 1996 by Doubleday
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jill Manske
This is the 6th Margolin novel I've read, and I rated all of the others with 4 stars. Which is why this book was such a disappointment. It was predictable and amateurish, with an uninspired plot and characters that I just couldn't warm up to. The dialog was trite and often stilted, not the way people generally talk. And bad boy Peter Hale just wasn't believable. Margolin didn't do a good enough job describing him as the self-absorbed, lazy screw-up that the book asserts he is. There were just to ...more
Dec 07, 2011 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice story of a poor spoiled rich kid forced to grow up. And he does so wonderfully.
Excellent book, well written and kept my interest until the end. Plot was good and kept me guessing
E Wilson

This was the last story in a book of Readers Digest Condensed
stories I received. I think that the condensed version cheats the
author and the reader. I thought that reading a condensed book would allow me to read something that I otherwise would never read, but I
don't think it's worth it.

This book started out strong. The rather unlikable character,
Peter,makes a horrible mistake at his father's law practice and he is exiled to the practice of one of his father's friends who is a public defender
A good legal thriller about a hungry young attorney who ultimately learns the right lessons about how to value what is important and how to be a better man. Peter Hale is born with a silver spoon in his mouth and follows in his father's footsteps - becomes an attorney like his father, Ivy league education, goes to work at his father's firm and loses everything when he steps into his father's shoes in an important case and screws things up. His father sends him packing to a small town and an old ...more
Feb 03, 2009 Dennis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peter Hale is a young attorney struggling to make his own mark in his father's venerable law firm when he is presented with the opportunity of a lifetime.

During the trial of a multimillion-dollar case, Peter's father, the lead counsel, suffers a heart attack and asks Peter to move for a mistrial until he's feeling better. Peter decides this is his only chance to prove to his father that he is the terrific lawyer he knows himself to be, and he chooses to carry on with the case against his father'
Dec 26, 2011 Marca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found another author! Burning Man tells of a young attorney Peter Hale who hopes to leapfrog over paying his dues to be a star in his father's law firm. Peter's arrogance and naiveté cause him to lose one of his father's big cases after his father suffers a heart attack on the day of the trial. As he is wheeled to the ambulance, Peter's father instructs Peter to ask for a mistrial. Peter thinks he knows better and goes ahead with the case and loses everything for the client. Peter's father tea ...more
Aug 11, 2012 Judi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-1998
A retarded man in a small Oregon town is accused of murder and he may very well pay with his life -- the evidence makes a persuasive case against him. Meanwhile he is defended by a lawyer who has just been thrown out of his father's firm for a selfish screw up.

The concept behind this book is interesting. But there is something about THE BURNING MAN that I did not like as much as his previous books and I suspect that it has do with the central character, Peter Hale. Part of Margolin's goal with
May 22, 2016 Ed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: legal, action, thriller
Legal novel - Young attorney Peter Hale, spoiled, conceited, and with a perpetual chip on his shoulder, wants to prove he's as good a lawyer as his father. So when Dad suffers a heart attack, Peter takes on one of the old man's toughest cases and ends up costing a paralyzed woman her million-dollar settlement. Furious, the senior Hale writes Peter out of his will and exiles him to a small town to work as a public defender. Peter doesn't know which is worse, not having his cappucino machine or de ...more
It's hard to follow up a Gearino with just about anything, but Margolin is so different and The Burning Man turned out to be a good choice. Peter Hale is a young lawyer who has gotten everything in his charmed life the easy way. But, he's just accepted everything and made no effort to learn from his advantaged gifts. In real life - after school and in his father's prestigious law firm, he quickly shoots himself in the foot. And, not for the first time. His father finally cuts him lose and he's f ...more
Feb 05, 2014 Marilyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Hale is a cocky young lawyer who thinks he’s capable of trying a murder case. But, the truth of the matter is his lifestyle dictates that he’d better get making some money or he’s going to have to make some drastic changes. Harnessed to his attorney father’s agency, Peter makes a fatal career decision when his father has a near-fatal heart attack. Destroying a woman’s hope for settlement from an accident, Peter is disowned by his father and sent to po-dunk America to work for an old colleg ...more
Frederick Bingham
I listened to this on tape on a trip.The is the story of Peter Hale. He is a young attorney working in his father's firm in Portland Oregon. He screws up a case badly and ends up getting fired and exiled to a small town in the eastern part of the state. He gets a job with a small firm handling public defender criminal cases. He ends up with a death penalty defense of a retarded man. He is accused of killing a young blond with a hatchet. Peter gradually figures out what is going on and what he ne ...more
Dec 01, 2014 Lou rated it really liked it
Peter Hale is the epitome of a cocky, brash lawyer. He's everything people just HATE about lawyers. And when he muffs a trial that he should not have been part of after his father suffers a near fatal heart attack, his father sends him off to a lawyer that he knows in another part of the state so that Peter can redeem himself. Peter goes kicking and screaming but then realizes this is his chance to try and be the brash lawyer AGAIN. And it nearly bites him in the butt a second time...

Pick up the
Feb 19, 2010 Joe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
'The Burning Man' is a good story written in a style that works for me. Philip Margolin did a pretty good job of keeping it real. The inexperienced small town lawyer does not turn into some kind of super investigator, lawyer god or anything. The capital case and investigation was straight forward not unusual twists or turns. The characters were decent. I appreciate all that in a book, but 'all that' as a whole, came out bland this time.

There wasn't much of an investigation in this book.

Ruth Donald
May 27, 2012 Ruth Donald rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I loved the opening pages of this book, but just over 80 pages in, I had to quit reading. I felt uncomfortable with some of the subject matter (a mentally challenged - not sure what the politically correct term is, but I know it's not what is now being called the "R word" - adult with sexual fantasies) and there are just too many good reads out there to spend time on one I wasn't enjoying.

I don't feel good about giving a one star review, and I have enjoyed some of Margolin's novels in the past,
Sean Cano Tabac
This book is a fairly good read. The book had a really strong beginning. It's an alright mystery book but it left me unattached to the story line in the middle of the book. He took on a case of a mentally-retarded man who is accused of killing a young college co-ed. There were twist and turns in the book but the story is very predictable that I was able to figure out who the killer is before it was even identified. The characters were fairly simple as well. This isn't my favorite book but it's n ...more
Edward Weiss
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 15, 2008 Maurean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Hale is a young attorney with a lot to the middle of a high-profile case that could make or break his career...And, Peter faces a choice - between the pursuit of headlines and the pursuit of truth.

As usual, Margolin's storytelling is superb. An intriguing and entertaining courtroom thriller that keeps you turning pages; fairly simple to surmise whodunit, but enough red herrings to keep it interesting
Mar 22, 2009 itpdx rated it liked it
A fair to middling legal thriller.
My biggest gripe is that the main character, Peter Hale, seems to have lived his life up until this point as a self-centered, spoiled egotist. But in the book he will suddenly do something good and kind with no chance for recompense. It is hard to believe that he has kept this kinder, gentler person hidden from his father and himself all these years.
Nov 13, 2011 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Even though this audiobook was abridged, I didn't feel like I missed out on any of the story, which is sometimes the case with audio. I really enjoyed this story of a self-centered lawyer who learns all about himself while trying an important criminal case that he isn't qualified to try. This book was an interesting Who-Dun-It that kept me guessing until the end.
May 26, 2008 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is much about the book I like. Maybe not the best Margolin book out there, but as an attorney from Oregon, the legal portions of the book are thrilling and the connections back to Portland are worth the 5 star rating alone. Others may not agree, but I love Margolin's work for the "home team" reasons alone!
Andrie A Tirtasusilo
cerita tentang pengacara muda yang merupakan anak dari pengacara terkenal

dia melakukan kesalahan fatal dalam suatu kasus yg menyebabkannya dicap sebagai pengacara gagal dan aib abgi nama besar keluarganya

dia di-expell ke kota kecil dan ternyata di kota ini terdapat suatu kasus besar

overall : keren lah, cerita tentang come-back seseorang yg telah jatuh
Sep 01, 2015 Rosemary rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Beth
Aug 06, 2013 Mary Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A "coming-of-age" story of a lawyer who has had too many perks and advantages in his life. I enjoyed watching his character grow and mature as the story progressed. Gary, a young man with an IQ between 65-70, was well portrayed, with an equal amount of child-like innocence and sexual development. All this came together to create a good read.
Joyce McKune
Jan 03, 2016 Joyce McKune rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A spoiled rich lawyer, son of a prominent lawyer, screwed up one of his fathers cases and was banished to a small town. He was offered a capital murder case and if he screwed this up he'd be finished.
A good courtroom thriller about a young lawyer who is humiliated in Portland and tries to get redemption as a public defender in a small town in his father’s eyes. Given a chance at a death penalty case this is his chance to shine but will his redemption come at the detriment to his client?
Wuraola Akande
Jun 23, 2012 Wuraola Akande rated it it was amazing
An awesome read, had this book for a few months before actually reading it. Just to say when i started a couldn't stop! The story is a well balanced and awesome piece of work which provides a conclusion with a twist!
Jul 04, 2015 Bruce rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An OK Book. The plot was very simple.

The characters in this book were very simple and not very well developed. There are gaps in the time line of the story that left you thinking that you have skipped over pages.
Jun 29, 2016 Paula rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Between a three and four. Kept me reading but I was able to figure out the ending. A big time lawyer exiles his son to a small town to hopefully teach him a few lessons. The son ends up involved in a death penalty case of a mentally handicapped young man.
Jul 07, 2012 Dannye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The plot was well constructed. The author led you down a number of paths, causing you to decide that was whodunit, but it wasn't. The overall theme as it related to the evolution of the main character was handled well.
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