I started the book without knowing what to expect but with high hopes. By the third chapter I was about to drop it as I was completely lost and really bored of those endless descriptions of biking rides that the author seem to like so much. One thing was obvious by then: This was no legal thriller of any sort but another action one. I have to say that i did like the author's style, loved the sarcarsm and humor remarks but found quite a bit of typos and errors as well as some blunders such as "he released the safety lock on his Glock". Glock pistols don't have safety locks. The story line was confusing at times even though it all seemed to tie up at the end, but still I was let with the feeling that there was much material that could have been done away with such as the part on the new housing developments that in the end did not have any relevance on the core of the story. At times I really enjoyded it but ended up wanting. I will give Mr.. Gimenez another chance....
I've read several of Mark Ginemez's books and enjoyed them all ("The Perk" was the best so far) but "The Common Lawyer" left me disappointed. The first 100 pages of the hard cover book are somewhat boring but once you get past that the real story finally begins and the dialogue becomes entertaining (but still too verbose). Because I've lived 5 years in the Austin, TX area (the setting for "The Common Lawyer" and, no, I'm not a UT student; I'm a 74 year old retiree) I could relate to the extensive descriptions of the streets and locales that embody the story but, even for me, this superfluous detail unnecessary to the story was too, too much. The book would have been much better, and I would have given it 4 stars, if it were only half as long. Come on, Mark, I like your vivid descriptions of Texas (although I'm not a Texas native) but just don't over do it next time.
Mark Gimenez’s latest legal thriller, “The Common Lawyer,” features one type of legal specialist I’d never heard of before—a traffic ticket lawyer. In a way that’s fitting, because the makings of a very promising novel often get lost in 500 pages jammed with filler about mountain bike riding, picking up women at Whole Foods, unusual locales in Austin, TX, and other esoteric topics. But for those readers patient enough to maneuver their way past the roadblocks and detours, there’s a pretty good thriller waiting around the next corner.
Gimenez’s titular lawyer is Andy Prescott, a 30ish attorney who is as bottom-of-the-barrel as you will find. He makes enough money beating traffic tickets (his methodology is to delay the case as long as he can in the hope the ticketing officer won’t show up) to barely scrape by, and his only interests are his mountain bike and sharing beers with school friends who are doing somewhat better than he is. Andy’s life turns around when a local billionaire picks him out to do some legal work at downtown law firm prices and then starts sending Andy around the country to find some possibly long lost lovechild from the billionaire’s younger days.
Of course, anything that sounds ridiculously too good to be true invariably is in books like “The Common Lawyer,” and Andy quickly finds out that he may wind up being more of a patsy than a Perry Mason. As he gets closer to discovering the billionaire’s real motivations, Andy attracts some unwanted attention from a couple of shadowy hitmen who have already left a couple of dead bodies in their wake.
When the author sticks to his central storyline, “The Common Lawyer” is an exciting action novel. Andy, despite being exceedingly gullible and far too easily distracted by the rather attractive women at Whole Foods who appreciate his wealthier self, is a likable guy with an interesting family dynamic. The main visible villains are an intriguingly quirky pair of hitmen as well. But the book also has its share of not-so-interesting characters, including Andy’s drinking buddies, who were intended as comic relief but proved to be space-consuming distractions. The book has about a half dozen scenes involving Andy schmoozing with these guys, not a single one of which is memorable or interesting.
Gimenez wastes time with a number of other dull distractions as well. In fact, the first fifty pages of the book or so involve a detailed description of a rather ugly accident Andy has while riding his bike (spoiler: he survives; his bike doesn’t) and an equally detailed description of his subsequent beer guzzling escapade with his buddies. The author also treats the audience to an extended travelogue about Austin and the somewhat laid back, counterculturish neighborhood where Andy hangs his shingle. I have nothing against incorporating local color and descriptions into a book; in fact, cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas often become key supporting characters in novels. But there is nothing about the Austin as described by Gimenez that warranted the number of pages devoted to it.
“The Common Lawyer” should have been about 350 pages instead of the actual 500, and those excess pages come in annoying clumps that bring the action to a halt at times. But Gimenez has come up with a sympathetic underdog hero and a rather imaginative storyline that manages to be somewhat credible, at least when judged by typical thriller standards. And, when he cuts to the chase (rather literally, I might add), the last quarter of the book proves to be quite exciting. Reading “The Common Lawyer” may require some uncommon patience on the part of readers, but there is a good story to be found here.
Intriguing This easy to follow stand-alone provides (armchair) extreme biking thrills. No errors in editing or formatting. No gratuitous violence or drag-you-down drama.
The storyline is filled with twists, keeping the reader guessing as to what happens next. It also reiterates that money can help but does not guarantee good health.
Believable characters with distinct personalities. Thought-provoking and memorable dialogue.
'Client's privilege: Right of client to require attorney to keep secret communications made to him in the attorney-client relationship and to prevent disclosure on the witness stand. Black's Law Dictionary, Fifth Ed.'
"Life isn't fair. Sometimes that works for you and against someone else; sometimes that works for someone else and against you. But life is always unfair to someone."
'You can't buy happiness in a store, Andy. You live it. I have. I did exactly what I wanted to do every day of my life. I've loved and been loved. That's as good as it gets in this life."'
"Because we each have our own life, and a life we share. We never tried to change each other. And we both understand that a life without passion isn't much of a life. It's like a movie—a pretense of life. We've had a real life."
I may re-read this story and always look forward to works by this author.