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21 July 2012

Mark Gimenez: The Governor's Wife

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A political thriller - not as good as his other books
Mark Gimenez is a talented author and I have really enjoyed his other legally targeted books. This book is more a political thriller, and IMHO not a very good or believable one.

There is great theatre in political thrillers set in the U.S. because the political and constitutional system is so complex and flawed that it allows authors a wide range of creativity. This time I think that Gimenez has gone too far with this creativity. While I am Australian, I closely follow U.S. politics because of the impact the US on the rest of the world, especially over the last very crucial 4 years.

The main character is a larger than life Republican Texas Governor with the ethics and morals of a tom cat, whose testosterone drives him to govern Texas like a cowboy from the Wild West. His political excesses and lies force his wife to move out of the Governor's mansion to make her mark on the world. She goes to work as a nurse on the border with Mexico where abject poverty goes side by side with the wealth and cruelty of the local drug cartel.

When hunting wildlife on a Texas billionaire's private ranch, the Governor's philosophy is expressed clearly - "Shit, let's kill something, see if that'll perk up our spirits." In the end he doesn't kill any game but instead kills 4 Mexicans youths tending a hidden cannabis plantation on the ranch who are about to rape a young Mexican girl. One of the youths is the son of the head of the drug cartel, who vows to kill the Governor in revenge.

Overnight, because of his actions, the Governor becomes a national hero and starts to believe that God has ordained that he could be the next President of the USA. His philosophy is "Buying control of the U.S. government is man's work, like coaching football and destroying the economy". During fundraising for PAC money for a Presidential campaign, a billionaire donor wants to know what he can get for his money - "I want to have sex with my mistress in the Governor's Mansion in the same bed Sam Houston slept in."

I am not questioning the politics involved (others who live in the US are more qualified to do that), only the credibility and believability of the characters and the plot. It was very hard to rate this book. The writing put it near the 4 star level, but the story and crediblity put it at 2 star or below. Because of my respect for Mark Giminez as an author, I compromised at 3 stars.

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