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Crime of Privilege: A Novel Paperback – February 11, 2014

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034554837X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345548375
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,125,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Attorney George Becket owes his career to the Gregory family and its political connections. The Gregory family owes George appreciation for not testifying about a rape that occurred at the family’s Palm Beach compound. The victim eventually killed herself, and her powerful father never forgave George for not supporting her claims. Years later on Cape Cod, George is asked by another grieving father to investigate a young woman’s murder. The man believes his daughter was in the company of Senator Gregory’s son and nephew the night she was killed. As George travels from Costa Rica to France to track down the people who were there that night, it becomes clear that he has been cast as both cat and mouse in an ever-expanding chase. Walker is an attorney, but this is not a legal thriller. Rather, it’s a page-turning, puzzle-solving adventure. Fans of Douglas Kennedy’s fast-paced suspense will find much to enjoy here. --Karen Keefe --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“Walter Walker combines an experienced attorney’s sense of our flawed criminal justice system with a natural storyteller’s gift. Crime of Privilege is a twisting, engrossing, irresistible detective story.”—William Landay, author of Defending Jacob
“A stunning first legal thriller that is sure to get as much attention as John Grisham’s The Firmand Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent . . . An outstanding crime story with spot-on characterization, a protagonist whose humiliating past compels sympathy, and a host of unexpected suspects. The novel’s moral complexity will appeal to readers who enjoyed works as diverse as Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities, Nelson DeMille’s The Gold Coast, and any number of contemporary thrillers.”Library Journal (starred review)
“Walter Walker’s Crime of Privilege is a terrifically entertaining race of a read that also effortlessly manages to be jam-packed with intelligence, insight, morality and heart. Top-notch and highly recommended!”New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart
“A gripping thriller . . . an unsettling, multilayered look at the insidious symbiosis between power and corruption.”Maclean’s

“Fans of John Grisham and Scott Turow especially will love this engrossing story of murder involving high society. The author’s wit, dry and cutting, is razor-sharp and somewhat reminiscent of Nelson DeMille’s John Corey. . . . Crime of Privilege qualifies as a tale of moral redemption, a legal thriller, and a murder mystery cloaked in pure enjoyment.”Bookreporter
Crime of Privilege is a privilege to read . . . an engaging, very well-paced novel . . . exciting and unpredictable.”

“A whodunit set in Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous . . . fast-paced with lots of sharp turns . . . You'll lose yourself in it.”The Guardian (U.K.)
“Nuanced and emotionally convincing . . . a subtle, well-paced thriller.”USA Today

“A slick, satisfying conspiracy novel where revenge tastes best served with a highball.”Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“A sheer pleasure to read . . . George must find his own moral compass, in a summer read notable for credible characters and unpredictable twists.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A page-turning, puzzle-solving adventure.”Booklist
“Walker maintains his dry, sometimes biting humor and moral edge. . . . A convincing portrait of misbehavior among the rich and powerful.”Kirkus Reviews

Crime of Privilege is not only a first-class legal thriller, it is an astute examination of our society and how we are corrupted by power and money. The rich are indeed different; they get away with murder. An absolutely engrossing read from beginning to end. Not only is it a well told story of crime and punishment, but also a finely nuanced tale of sin and redemption.”—Nelson DeMille
Crime of Privilege is wonderfully written, and Walter Walker has a great talent, the God-given kind that can’t be taught or learned or acquired, and the reader knows it from the first paragraph of the book. The characters are complex and interesting yet also emblematic of all the players in the class war, which is the stuff of all epic stories. I love the protagonist, and I also love the portrayal of the world of the very rich. There is something about the very rich that is hard to describe, but Walter Walker got them in the camera’s lens perfectly.”—James Lee Burke
“A gripping, chilling tale that pits privilege against pride, with a not-entirely-innocent man caught in the untenable middle.”—Chris Pavone, New York Times bestselling author of The Expats

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

This book grabbed me from the start and I was looking forward to settling in for a great read.
book lover
Too much going back and forth in time frames so it was confusing until I was half way through the book.
sally I. cook
It's well written and the characters are highly believable, with some great dialogue and dark humor.
B. McEwan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Joseph VINE VOICE on June 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Walter Walker's Crime of Privilege caught my interest from the start, with its glimpse into the sordid goings-on at a party thrown by the privileged, politically-connected Gregory family. After young George Becket fails to intervene to protect an intoxicated young lady who belongs to another privileged family (the Powells) from being violated by members of the Gregory clan and their rich buddies, he finds the direction of his life being manipulated by a clandestine power struggle between the Gregorys and Powells.

Years later, stuck in a bottom-rung position in the Cape Cod District Attorney's Office and still haunted by regret over the suicide of the young Powell lady and his failure to assist in exposing what the Gregory clan did to her that night long ago, George Becket finally finds his chance for redemption. The father of a murdered young girl enlists Becket's assistance in exposing what he believes to be the Gregory family's involvement in his daughter's death and in their cover-up of the murder.

A tantalizing set-up to be sure, but unfortunately Walker's plot becomes increasingly implausible from this point forward. Nearly every character seems to be involved in a massive and convoluted conspiracy to cover up this murder, and Becket galavants from one foreign location to another, uncovering piece-by-piece the elusive evidence linking the Gregorys to the murdered girl. Part of the problem is that Becket's motivations and loner personality, forged from his failure to act in opposition to the Gregorys when he had the chance, never ring completely true. The novel feels like one big pity-party for Becket, and he never becomes the strong, sympathetic protagonist required to carry this type of thriller.

So while this novel starts with a bang and kept me interested enough to push through the contrived plot to the far-fetched climax, it didn't live up to its billing as a tightly-plotted legal thriller in tradition of Turow and DeMille.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By rgregg VINE VOICE on April 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Crime of Privilege" is an overstuffed story involving a wealthy society family that begins with a horrible rape in Palm Beach, Florida involving a group of "yuppie" buddies, some from a privileged families including family members of a wealthy US Senator and the subsequent cover up of that crime. The rape victim subsequently commits suicide.
The story then shifts to Cape Cod in 2008 and our narrator George Becket who was a witness to the earlier rape now works for the District Attorney in the area. He is approached by a father who has been trying to force the local police and DA to reexamine the case of his daughter who was found murdered on a golf course in 1999.
Becket finds resistance in trying to convince local law enforcement to reevaluate the murder.
This book shifts back and forth often between the months following the rape and the 2008 investigation.
I read quite a bit of this book and by 200 pages in, I was so confused as to which character was which and frankly cared little about any of them.
And Walter Walker, the writer commits a confusing sin by having multiple Chapters 1, 2 and subsequent numbers every time he shifts the time frame from present to past. So you find yourself reading chapter 5 which may be one page and then the next page is Chapter 1! And when he shifts the time, the first part of each shift is not even given a chapter number. It's confusing but nearly as complex as the array of people who may have a role in the 1999 murder and the 1996 rape. I know this sounds like a potpourri of a story but frankly it makes for a less than satisfying experience.
Becket tries to track down characters from the past to find out what they know, what they will admit and what they are covering up.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By B. McEwan VINE VOICE on April 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Crime of Privilege is actually more than a simple crime novel. It's the story of a wealthy political family, the Gregorys, whose young adult children get away with murder, literally. The family is based on Cape Cod and its patriarch is a US senator from Massachusetts. It will be the rare reader indeed who doesn't immediately figure out who the Gregorys are based on.

The plot begins with a rape that takes place during a party at the family's Palm Beach compound -- Shades of William Kennedy Smith. The rape is witnessed by George Becket, a young man who happens to be present as the guest of a family friend. Although he helps the young woman clean up and get home afterwards, George never tells anyone about the rape. This leads to a complex chain of events that links George's fate to the Gregory family and embroils him in some pretty ugly circumstances, including the investigation of a cold case murder that took place 15 years earlier on Cape Cod. Ultimately, George must confront his own complicity in the rape and in the Gregory family's privileged position.

This novel is a real page turner. It's well written and the characters are highly believable, with some great dialogue and dark humor. Throughout the story, author Walter Walker embeds little gems of social criticism that make his book more substantive than the usual murder mystery. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By a VINE VOICE on August 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I felt conflicted while reading Walter Walker's "Crime was Privilege." On the one hand, I had trouble putting it down. It moved along at a rapid pace with enough energy and mystery to keep me interested in discovering how things ended up. And yet, at the same time, basic elements of the novel, such as structure and pacing, bothered me increasingly as I swiftly moved towards the conclusion. In the end, I would say that I "moderately enjoyed" this novel, but it fell short of my expectations. If I remember "Crime of Privilege" at all, I'll likely remember it as something of a disappointment rather than recall how engaged I was while reading it.

My one sentence summary would be: Moved and manipulated like a chess piece, an assistant district attorney, tormented by his past mistakes and current lonely life, goes up against a politically powerful family while trying to solve a murder mystery that might cost him his career, or even his life. Of course, this rich, politically connected New England family - with their family compound, patriarch U.S. senator, moral ambiguity, and far-reaching influence - bears more than a passing resemblance to the Kennedys, while the murder mystery itself seems to be at least partially inspired by the real-life death of Martha Moxley.

The novel began with a great deal of promise and obviously captured my attention, but my enthusiasm started to wane as it fell into the usual rut of a standard legal thriller.
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