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Monday, 21 April 2014

Mark Gimenez - The Perk

Review written and read live on the show by Brian Lowen 17th April 2014

Another excellent book from the ‘new’ John Grisham.

The story starts off quite dramatically with a rich film star in his chauffeured limousine accepting the plaudits of his fans as he drives through Austin, Texas.

One particular blonde bimbo takes his eye so he invites her into his car, gives her alcohol and cocaine, gets her high, then rapes her in the back of the car when they are out of town.
He thinks she has fallen asleep, but later finds that she is dead so they speed through the night and dump her in a roadside ditch near the little town of Freidricksberg.

The story then switches to Chicago and the Hardin family. Beck is a successful lawyer earning good money, but his perfect world collapses when his wife Annie dies of cancer and he is left to bring up his two young children, Meggie and Luke. He just cannot manage a full time job and bring up his children so he decides his only way out is to resign his job, sell his house and move back to his childhood home that he has not visited for the last twelve years. He was born on a large ranch in Freidricksberg but left after his Mother died. His Father, who gave him a hard time as a kid, never the less is glad to have him back home.

Now we see how the first two chapters of the book come together as he learns from his old college chum, Aubrey,  that his daughter, Heidi was brutally murdered and dumped in a roadside ditch, but her killer has never been found. Beck is therefore determined to track down this famous film star to make him pay for his crime. He feels he owes it to Aubrey, but we do not learn why until later in the story.

We learn some interesting historical facts about this part of Texas. It is not blacks against whites here as there are no blacks. The community is split three ways: there are the old Germans who set up the original colony of Freidricksberg who do not get on well with the Anglos – the white Americans, and certainly have nothing to do with the Latinos – the Mexicans, mostly illegal immigrants from across the border, who keep their heads down and do not cause any trouble for fear of being deported back to Mexico.

Beck naturally gets involved with all three communities as he continues his investigation.

A thoroughly enjoyable story with some good characters that puts out a powerful message that one should always stand up for the right. Well recommended.

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