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Monday, 2 September 2013

‘The Governor’s Wife’ by Mark Gimenez

Published by Sphere,
17 January 2013.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-4376-6

One purpose of fiction, I’ve long believed, is to highlight and illustrate truths which might get writers of factual books and the more ethical kind of journalist into trouble.

Sometimes, especially in genre fiction, the illustration is overly coloured and dramatic – but then fiction does tend to home in on crisis points in the characters’ lives, so a grain of truth surely remains.
Enter Mark Gimenez, who has already been hailed as a worthy successor to John Grisham and Scott Turow for his earlier novels which lifted the lid on aspects of the American legal system. In The Governor’s Wife, he opens a window on to politics, especially the Republican variety.
His is a biased view; his graphic descriptions of Latino poverty, set against the opulent lifestyle of his high-flyer politician protagonist, make no bones about that. But somehow it all springs to vivid life in a way which grips the attention as it appals.

Political polemic it isn’t. First and foremost it’s a rattling good page-turner of a story set against a starkly distinctive landscape in which the climate is as extreme as the contrasts between rich and poor. There’s a high body count, action hot on the heels of drama and a high-octane climax in which cosmic justice is dispensed all round. The characters are larger than life: the women are all beautiful, the men are either six-foot-plus heroes or smart and cunning. And when the still-honourable governor’s wife leaves the luxurious mansion paid for by her ambitious husband’s abandonment of the high principles she loved him for, and goes to work as a nurse in the state’s poorest strip of land, the message come across loud and clear.

Plenty of tough and intriguing questions are posed along the way, giving this fast-paced, exhilarating narrative an extra dimension. Read it and you’ll never regard American politics in quite the same light again.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Mark Gimenez is an author and lawyer from Texas. He specializes in the thriller genre writing, especially legal thrillers. His first novel, The Color of Law, was a New York Times bestseller. He also runs his own solo law practice

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning.   
She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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