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28 June 2013

Mark Gimenez: Con Law (John Bookman 1)

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Don't Judge a Book by its Covers
John Bookman is over 6 feet tall, with dark long hair and an olive complexion suggesting a Comanche heritage, wears jeans, boots and Tommy Bahama T-shirts and rides a second-hand restored Harley Davidson motor bike. He is skilled in martial arts and can take on several tough guys and win. Sounds a great profile for a kick-ass fictional hero, doesn't it?

But John Bookman (Book) is not your normal ex-military or law enforcement hero. He is a dedicated and brilliant tenured Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Texas School of Law and is often mentioned as a future Supreme Court nominee. He is a well known media personality who features regularly on network talk shows, often making prominent politicians look like idiots.

So why is Book such a fascinating and action-orientated new fictional hero? As well as trying to give his students an understanding of law in the real world through the eyes of the Constitution, he is also famous for his extra-curricula interest making sure justice is done by personally taking on lost causes - and winning.

As a tenured Professor, Book is helped by a law student as his paid intern to help him with his research, deal with his extensive correspondence from people wanting help and pick out letters that might interest Book. His interns' experience helping him with these cases can be traumatic - his last one quit saying "I didn't go to Law School to be shot at".

Book gets a letter from one of his previous interns, Nathan Jones in Marfa, who is very worried that gas/oil well fracking in West Texas may be contaminating the drinking water aquifer. Book has a very personal unpaid debt to Jones for his help in the past and within minutes is on his Harley headed for Marfa with his new (and very scared) intern, Nadine, riding pillion.

While there is a lot of character building in this first book of the series, there is still plenty of page-turning action as Book, with increasing help from Nadine, investigates the content of the letter in a small but surprisingly cosmopolitan Texas town. In the process they are attacked, shot at, run off the road and more.

I have read and enjoyed many of Mark Gimenez' books and he is high on my list of favourite authors. This was a great start to an exciting and unusual new series. I look forward to more of Book's search for justice ("Real Law" and "Book's Law" sound good to me).

NOTE: The link to Amazon goes to the Australian version as the book won't be released in the US until 4 July.

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