In the tradition of Scott Turow, William Landay, and Nelson DeMille, Crime of Privilege is a stunning thriller about power, corruption, and the law in America - and the dangerous ways they come together.
A murder on Cape Cod. A rape in Palm Beach.
All they have in common is the presence of one of America’s most beloved and influential families. But nobody is asking questions. Not the police. Not the prosecutors. And certainly not George Becket, a young lawyer toiling away in the basement of the Cape & Islands district attorney’s office. George has always lived at the edge of power. He wasn’t born to privilege, but he understands how it works and has benefitted from it in ways he doesn’t like to admit. Now, an investigation brings him deep inside the world of the truly wealthy—and shows him what a perilous place it is.
Years have passed since a young woman was found brutally slain at an exclusive Cape Cod golf club, and no one has ever been charged. Cornered by the victim’s father, George can’t explain why certain leads were never explored - leads that point in the direction of a single family - and he agrees to look into it.
What begins as a search through the highly stratified layers of Cape Cod society, soon has George racing from Idaho to Hawaii, Costa Rica to France to New York City. But everywhere he goes he discovers people like himself: people with more secrets than answers, people haunted by a decision years past to trade silence for protection from life’s sharp edges. George finds his friends are not necessarily still friends and a spouse can be unfaithful in more ways than one. And despite threats at every turn, he is driven to reconstruct the victim’s last hours while searching not only for a killer but for his own redemption.
©2013 Walter Walker (P)2013 Random House Audio
"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)
You've seen this plot a million times. In fact, you've seen stories based on the family the novel obviously alludes to a million times. The "Gregorys" are a rich, politically connected Massachusetts family that does whatever it wants. A lot of good in the bigger sense...but a lot of amoral actions on a private level. The novel starts with one such instance -- the rape of a young woman by two of the family's sons. George Becket, a casual friend of the sons (and the novel's protagonist) witnesses the crime but keeps his mouth shut even after the girl's family "messenger" (the girl is rich by her own rights) asks him (in no uncertain terms) to serve as a witness.
Cut to twelve years later. George is now working at the D.A.'s office. He is plagued by guilt over his earlier inaction so when the father of a murdered girl proclaims that the Gregorys were to blame and asks him to investigate, he accepts. His search threatens both George and his career. What's more, as he delves into the Gregory's past, George discovers that his earlier failure to act affected his own life in ways he could not have imagined.
So it's not particularly original, you say, why the four stars? Well, it's actually pretty well written (for a rich-family-gets-away-with-murder story). It got me from the get-go and I could not wait to see what would happen next. Perhaps the fact that our "hero" is (by his own admission) a rather weak and flawed character makes the story stronger somehow.
A word of caution: the narrator, in my opinion, is simply awful. He reads every single sentence with such exaggerated drama that it makes the writing seem ridiculous (there were times when I had to "imagine" I was reading the words on a page so as to get the tone I was sure the author intended). Listen to the sample before you buy to see whether you think you might be able to get past him,
Nice background details on a politically connected Massachusetts and Palm Beach famous family but the plot's a bit too creaky and coincidental. Worth the listen though.
One more reader
After 7 hours of listening...I gave up. As an audio book, it jumped around way too much...settings, chapter numbers, time. Too confusing even for uninterupted listening... which i never have. The narrator is not good. I didn't like his voice and found him somewhat irritating. While the book seems to have gotten good reviews, perhaps due to the similarity to the Kennedy's, it is a story that makes you not want to care about any aspect.
Not anything read by stephen Hoye
I have doubts this makes the transfer to audio
I will probably relisten to this story. It's that good, and that engrossing. All characters are flawed, conflicted, and extremely interesting. Obvious parallels to the Kennedy lore abound, but it makes for a great story worthy of being mentioned with the likes of DeMille or Turrow.
Another waste of time and money. A book full of losers and idiots. Even the relatively good narration couldn't save this one.
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