Monday, May 04, 2009

“The Perk”, by Mark Gimenez (Sphere)


Yet another cracking thriller from the author many hail as “the next Grisham”

Beck Hardin has recently lost his wife to cancer. With two young children to look after, his life as a top-billing Chicago lawyer is almost impossible, and a change needs to be made. Having fled small-town Texas long ago, swearing never to go back, Hardin reneges on this promise, and moves his family to Fredericksburg.

Years ago, sixteen-year-old Heidi was murdered. Beloved daughter of a friend of Beck’s father, Beck is asked to look into the case and attempt to find out who the killer is, before the statute of limitations runs out. Given his experience as a lawyer, he is also pushed into becoming the town judge, only to find himself at odds with the wealthy white landowners who take a few too many liberties when “taking care” of their Mexican workers.

Mark Gimenez’s books just keep getting better and better. He is particularly fond of evocative and (mostly) long tracts of description – be it atmospheric or of a particular location, and is able to convey to the reader perfectly what his protagonists are witnessing or experiencing. While some might find his taste for exposition infuriating or long-winded, with each novel the author has been able to tighten things up. This is especially true for The Common Lawyer, in which Gimenez has managed to achieve the maximum mix of plot and exposition. In The Perk, there’s a slight dip to the pacing of the novel, but overall it still rattles along, Gimenez’s expertly-composed prose drawing you on until the very last page.

As with all of his novels, Gimenez uses his story to comment on certain aspects of American culture. In The Perk, it is about (as the name suggests) the “perks” enjoyed by the rich and famous. Not only that, but also the culture of celebrity and the lengths to which people will go to achieve it for themselves.

His novels are gripping, intense thrillers. Guaranteed to keep you up well into the night, The Perk is an exceptionally well crafted novel, populated by a cast of characters that are realistically-drawn and appealing. For example, the actor/killer (he remains unnamed for most of the novel), comes across as blissfully narcissistic and self-involved, his internal monologue always about him and what things mean for him, how he can retain his glitzy life, while never taking into account anyone else or the costs of his actions.

As always, thought-provoking, intelligent, and addictive. Highly recommended.

Also try: Stuart Woods, John Grisham, Scott Turow, James Sheehan

1 comment:

  1. Hi

    Thanks for the review. I did a review of The Perk just recently too. Great book and you have a great blog too.