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Bait and Switch
on March 28, 2017
This book reminds me of what a writing teacher once told me, tongue in cheek. You have to write a first chapter that will grab the customer and get him to buy the book. After that, who cares about the rest of the book - you (the author, publisher) have the money! The first chapter of The Perk is strong - beautiful young Texas girl basically kidnapped, drugged and raped and left to die on side of road by sleaze ball movie star (picture Tom Cruise). So the story is going to be how the vicious crime is solved, right? Wrong. The rest of the book is a hatchet job on the white people of Fredericksburg, Texas, or at least on the descendants of the Germans who settled it, who are all racist and corrupt, and especially brutal to Mexicans. There's a subplot about a high school football hero jacked up on steroids who brutally beats a Mexican-American boy (who wants to be an astronaut or something at NASA). There's a frustrated romance between the protagonist and a hot, beautiful lesbian who moved from Austin to open a book store. The "hero" is an Atticus Finch type who grew up there but moved away and was a partner in a hotshot Chicago law firm. Moves back when his wife dies, and within six months is the district judge, although he doesn't even have a Texas law license. While judge, he personally investigates and basically prosecutes the case against the football star - nevermind that he would be disqualified from presiding over the case. There's a former judge now lawyer for the football hero that learned his negotiating skills from reading The Godfather - cheat, lie, steal and when that doesn't work, blackmail.
This book meanders all over the place and the original "mystery" - will the movie star ever get caught? - falls by the wayside. In real life Hispanics and Anglos here get along just fine.
And by the way - the real Gillespie County (where Fredericksburg is) has a female Mexican-American district attorney.