Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Crime of Privilege by Walter Walker

Crime of Privilege
A murder on Cape Cod. A rape in Palm Beach.

All they have in common is the presence of one of America’s most beloved and influential families. But nobody is asking questions. Not the police. Not the prosecutors. And certainly not George Becket, a young lawyer toiling away in the basement of the Cape & Islands district attorney’s office. George has always lived at the edge of power. He wasn’t born to privilege, but he understands how it works and has benefitted from it in ways he doesn’t like to admit. Now, an investigation brings him deep inside the world of the truly wealthy—and shows him what a perilous place it is.

Years have passed since a young woman was found brutally slain at an exclusive Cape Cod golf club, and no one has ever been charged. Cornered by the victim’s father, George can’t explain why certain leads were never explored—leads that point in the direction of a single family—and he agrees to look into it.

What begins as a search through the highly stratified layers of Cape Cod society, soon has George racing from Idaho to Hawaii, Costa Rica to France to New York City. But everywhere he goes he discovers people like himself: people with more secrets than answers, people haunted by a decision years past to trade silence for protection from life’s sharp edges. George finds his friends are not necessarily still friends and a spouse can be unfaithful in more ways than one. And despite threats at every turn, he is driven to reconstruct the victim’s last hours while searching not only for a killer but for his own redemption.

It’s rare that I find a book on the “blah” side. I tend to have pretty strong opinions, good or bad, but this one brought out the wishy-washy side of me. I can’t find fault with the writing itself or the characters, it was just kind of a dull book.

The novel starts out with a good amount of steam. There’s a nice rhythm to it that keeps the pace up through the first three chapters or so. After that, it changes a bit. Though it doesn’t necessarily drag, the pacing does get somewhat bogged down by lots of back story. A lot of it. It’s not badly written and it is interesting in its own right, but it doesn’t really help the plot as much as the author assumed it would.

The protagonist, George, is handled nicely. He doesn’t quite manage to pop off the page, but he does engage the reader with his faults as well as with his positive attributes. The rest of the characters, including the “bad” guys are a bit less realized. They are more cookie-cutter than I would have liked.

The novel’s main issue, in my opinion, is that it really isn’t extremely original. We’ve all read similar stories, and this one just doesn’t bring the excitement that comes with uncharted territory.

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