*Walker, Walter. Crime of Privilege. Ballantine. June 2013. 414p. ISBN 978-0-345541536. $ 26. Fiction

In 1996, during spring break in Florida, befuddled student George Becket looks on while a drunken Kendrick Powell is raped by two boys, relatives of a powerful New England Senator. When evidence is suppressed and the boys go unpunished, Kendrick commits suicide. Now it's twelve years after the rape, and Becket, a deputy district attorney in the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s office, finds himself under pressure. Senator Gregory’s henchmen want him to do nothing to harm the family; Kendrick’s wealthy father wants justice and to put a stop to the Gregorys’ criminal behavior; and Bill Telford wants to know why no one ever follows up on evidence he gathered regarding his daughter Heidi, found on a golf course with her head bashed in the night after attending a party with the Gregory boys. Tossed about by these forces and hoping to atone for his past, Becket follows clues that lead from Cape Cod to Hawaii, from San Francisco to Costa Rica, and from Idaho to France. VERDICT While seemingly taking as its inspiration the by-now tiring shenanigans of a family like the Kennedys, Walker’s sixth novel (after The Appearance of Impropriety) is an outstanding crime story with spot-on characterization, a protagonist whose humiliating past compels sympathy, and a host of unexpected suspects. The novel’s moral complexity will appeal to readers who enjoyed works as diverse as Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities, Nelson DeMille’s The Gold Coast, and any number of contemporary thrillers.

Library Journal, 138, no. 5 (March 15, 2013), 105-106.


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