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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Year's Best
I have no idea why this book is only available from the UK. This is the author's third book. Both of the previous novels were first rate legal thrillers and this one continues the tradition. The book jacket compares Giminez to John Grisham. In my opinion, he is better.

All of his novels are set in Texas, a place he knows and understands. This one takes place...
Published on August 20, 2008 by John R. Linnell

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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Perk
Being an avid mystery reader and after seeing all the rave reviews for this book, I was hoping to find another "go to" author in Mark Gimenez. I'm afraid that I did not. Briefly, the primary reason for this is that just about everything and everyone in this book is some form of a stereotype...the plot dynamics and, particularly, the characters (the grieving husband, the...
Published on November 26, 2012 by jeffrey spilman


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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Year's Best, August 20, 2008
By 
John R. Linnell (New Gloucester, ME United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perk (Hardcover)
I have no idea why this book is only available from the UK. This is the author's third book. Both of the previous novels were first rate legal thrillers and this one continues the tradition. The book jacket compares Giminez to John Grisham. In my opinion, he is better.

All of his novels are set in Texas, a place he knows and understands. This one takes place largely in Fredricksville as a former local football hero returns to his roots after an absense of twenty-four years. He left to go to Notre Dame and play as quaterback on their football team. Then on to law school, a large Chicago law firm where he was a star trial lawyer. He also left bitter and angry at his father following his mother's death. He returns with his two children following the death of his wife from cancer. Her death has left a large hole in his life and the lives of his children which he is trying desperately to fill.

The novel is full of interesting and well drawn characters and the reader is quickly drawn into the story which is masterfully told by a novelist who uses dialogue with the same skill that Van Cliburn handled a piano.

If you have previously discovered this author, he remains as good as you remember. If you have not, you have a wonderful treat in store. In fact, you have three.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Mr. Gimenez..., April 11, 2009
This review is from: The Perk (Paperback)
"If you beg for it they will mail". Well that's not the exact quote but that doesn't make it less true. Trying to find this book here in the US has been nothing short of frustrating! Why, with the success of Mark's first two books, didn't the publishers didn't pick up his next one? Who knows, I just know that the US publishers are a bunch of [...] for not publishing this book. I wrote Mark about the pain I was feeling and he actually sent me `The Perk' and `The Common Lawyer'. WOW!

I like Mark's books for a number of reasons, the least of which is his ability to bring you in and make you want to be a part of the story. I felt it with `The Common Lawyer' and I really felt it with `The Perk'. The emotions that Beck was feeling with the loss of his wife, the fear of raising his kids, the uncertainty of coming back home, and the gulf between him and his father is a very moving sub-plot to this book. For me, it did start off a bit slow, and that was a bit unusual for one of Mark's books. Thankfully slow doesn't mean boring, and once this book's engine warmed up it purred like a vintage Mustang.

Beck is a football celebrity in this small Texas town (Fredericksburg) but it's a town that he could not wait to get out of after high school. He vowed never to come back... ever... but life has a way of laughing at our arrogance in thinking that we can actually control it. He comes back to town and sees the effects of time and progress. While this community has kept its "small town mentality" it has also tried to accept the modern growth that comes with time. The dynamics are pretty funny if you think about it. An American town, controlled by old-school Germans, dealing with illegal Mexicans, all while trying to keep the Texas honored cult that is high school football.

All of this is woven together in a book that is pretty hard to put down once you start. My synopsis in a hundred words or less: Beck Hardin, a football legend, comes back to town with his two kids after the death of his wife. He slowly starts to reconcile with his father who he hasn't spoken to in almost twenty four years. Oh yeah, he's a lawyer. The old Judge who pretty much hates illegal immigrants (Mexicans in this case) has just quit the bench. Most everyone wants Beck to run and has already started his campaign without him knowing it. His best friend back in high school has asked him to investigate the murder of his daughter. A sixteen year old sexual starlet who will do whatever and WHOever it takes to make it to Hollywood.

This best friend is also the high school football coach who has more barley in his blood than plasma. He's also the coach of an extremely talented yet arrogantly privileged quarterback names Slade. With him they have a chance to win the State Championship, the first time since Beck. Unfortunately Slade has issues and demons that might derail that plan. Beck is put in the middle of a fight between the Mexicans and the Germans and the outcome could make or break this little town.

This review, of course, doesn't even come close to the drama, heartache, grief, and small victories that Mark touches upon in this novel. Unfortunately, unless the American publishers pull their head out of their [...], people will miss this very, very, very good book.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Perk, November 26, 2012
This review is from: The Perk (Paperback)
Being an avid mystery reader and after seeing all the rave reviews for this book, I was hoping to find another "go to" author in Mark Gimenez. I'm afraid that I did not. Briefly, the primary reason for this is that just about everything and everyone in this book is some form of a stereotype...the plot dynamics and, particularly, the characters (the grieving husband, the number one high-school football recruit in the country, the evil/devious local businessman, the heartless/pompous Hollywood star and the heightened animosity between the local whites, mostly German Americans, no less, and the "shadow" Mexican/Latino population). It all became too much for me. It's too bad as I liked the way Gimenez writes, including some interesting plot twists and pretty well thought out legal gymnastics. Nevertheless, the constant character hyperbole diminished the book as a whole. Tone it down a little, Mark. Tone it down.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great third novel from a truly gifted author, September 15, 2008
By 
wtcdean (Snyder, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perk (Hardcover)
When I read Mark's first book I knew I wanted more. His ability to incorporate realism and tension combined with his gift for plot development made The Color of Law a real page-turner. His second novel, The Abduction, was just as gripping as the first. In his third novel, Gimenez hits a home run. His descriptions of the location are (pardon the pun) dead on! The legal twists combined with the in-depth sports involvement make for a great read that will leave you wanting more. This Texas author is number one in my book!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little too much background for my taste, August 17, 2014
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This review is from: The Perk (Kindle Edition)
This book opens with a Prologue about a glamorous high school cheerleader/groupie dying in the back of a movie star's limo of a cocaine overdose in Austin, Texas. Then the story jumps forward 4-and-a-half years to a high school football hero, Beck Hardin, returning to his hometown of Fredricksburg, Texas after a 24-year absence in which he went to Notre Dame, got a law degree, and practiced in Chicago. It turns out that the dead cheerleader was the daughter of his best friend and teammate in high school, so Beck promises to solve the cold case and catch the killer. Meanwhile, he is talked into running for judge, gets involved in small-town politics, and spends most of the book straightening out the current Fredricksburg high school QB, who is the best in the country.

This is my second book by Mark Gimenez, and frankly, I was a little disappointed. It is very slow-moving in the beginning. The author spends a lot of time setting up the characters and how the Germans founded Fredricksburg, and for most of the first 2/3 of the book, I wondered whether the Prologue was just a side story. Apparently, Texas has a five-year statute-of-limitations on statutory rape, and Beck only had 6 months to beat the deadline and solve the cold case. Steroid use by the HS football team seemed to consume most of the book while time was running out on solving the murder. Also a lot of time is devoted to the plight of illegal Mexican immigrants. One problem I had with the book was that the name of the killer was revealed in the Prologue, but he seems to have changed names by the end of the book without any explanation. I expect surprises in a good mystery, but I don't appreciate trickery, and I'm afraid that a fast one was pulled here.

I'm not giving up on Mr. Gimenez, but I thought "Accused" was a lot better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Political, August 15, 2014
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This review is from: The Perk (Kindle Edition)
I quit reading after nine chapters. I was looking for a mystery not the political leanings of this guy. If you can't leave your political agenda out of your books at least have the decency to classify your books as political science.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Spectacular Disappointment - nothing but social commentary with murder case thrown in as after thought, August 3, 2014
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This review is from: The Perk (Kindle Edition)
I really wanted to like this book. With the Texas setting and comparison to John Grisham, it seemed like a "can't miss". WRONG!!! Unfortunately, the only thing this author has in common with John Grisham is the ability to form sentences using words. I'm 42% into the book (really, really trying to give it a chance), and the only reference to any kind of legal case is the teaser at the beginning of the book with a few scattered references later on to give the impression that eventually this murder might be solved. Or not. But, really, who cares. This book is just one long rant about Texas politics and the mistreatment of Mexicans and illegal immigrants. Save your $1.97 and just listen to any of the Talking Heads on the numerous daily "news" programs.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Good, September 3, 2013
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This review is from: The Perk (Kindle Edition)
I wanted to quit reading this book multiple times, but I forced myself to finish it. Unfortunately, it never improved. Things like having a judge doing battle with coyotes using only his bare hands made me feel like I was reading a cartoon! I selected the book because of the good reviews. I don't know what book those previous reviewers read, but it sure wasn't this one.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stop the PREACHING, October 24, 2013
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This review is from: The Perk (Kindle Edition)
I like Mark Gimenez' books--usually well thought-out good guy/bad guy plots and action. In my opinion the social-engineering preaching gets VERY tiring.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story that captures you mind 24X7, August 23, 2008
By 
D. Dutterer "Dennis" (Charlottesville, Virginia, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perk (Paperback)
This is the best of his three books so far. I eagerly look forward to The Common lawyer next spring. Buy and read now so you are one of the first to read the new Grisham.
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The Perk
The Perk by Mark Gimenez (Paperback - 2009)
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