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This is no ordinary legal thriller fiction - it is extraordinary legal, personal and emotional fiction. At times the family aspects tugged at the heart strings so much I "teared up". Not many books have that effect on me.
Beck Hardin fled his home in Texas after the death of his mother and vowed never to return to his estranged father. He settles in Chicago and marries Annie, another lawyer, who gives up her career to care for their two children, while Beck works extraordinary hours so common in large US law firms.
Annie dies of breast cancer leaving Beck devastated at the loss of the wife he adored. He is left to bring up two small children on his own. He finds it impossible reconcile his demanding legal career with life as a single parent and in desperation he decides to bring his family back to Texas to the father he hasn't spoken to for years. There starts an emotional and warming re-union and a seismic change in Beck's lifestyle.
He moves from the torrid world of big city law to become a Judge in a very small Texas town. While this should be an easy job, he quickly gets exposed to the dark, dirty underbelly of small town politics and fights the control of the town by unscrupulous, rich and powerful people. He also helps to investigate the cocaine overdose murder of the teenage daughter of his best friend at high school. In the process he uncovers corruption, bribery, steroid abuse and more....
Gimenez clearly shows us his love for Texas, and some of his concerns about contemporary Texas. He explores the time honoured Texas cult of high school football and touches on the exploitation of illegal Mexican immigrants. Beck's daughter, Meggie asks her Grandfather - "JB, what is a Mexican?" " A human being, honey, just like you and me. Some folks around here just ain't figured that out yet."
Beck's feelings about the law and justice are inspirational. "The law is found in statutes and codes and rules and regulations. But wisdom can't be found in the law book. Wisdom is found in life. In death. And every day in between. And justice isn't found in the courtroom; it's found in the human heart."
Mark Gimenez is a writer of quality thrillers. I still have a couple of his books to read - I am saving them until I have time to read them straight through.