Review

Crime of Privilege

by Walter Walker

“Oh, sure, blame the Gregorys, because they’re always out there in the public eye. They don’t run, they don’t hide. And if you need a boogeyman, someone to fault because your own relationship is falling apart, you’ve lost your job, or your kid doesn’t make the soccer team, there they are --- the folks who seemingly have everything…”

A party in Palm Beach at the family mansion. Two of the young Gregory men slip away with one of the female guests, leading her into the library. The girl isn’t resisting. More like complacent. Or maybe catatonic. They’re all drunk. In keeping with their reputation, the Gregory lads have their fun with her. And off in a corner, George Becket, just a tag-along, watches and does nothing. Well, almost nothing. Enough of nothing that it haunts him forever.

"Fans of John Grisham and Scott Turow especially will love this engrossing story of murder involving high society. The author's wit, dry and cutting, is razor-sharp and somewhat reminiscent of Nelson DeMille’s John Corey."

George goes on to law school, manages to land a position at the Cape & Islands district attorney’s office on Cape Cod, and does an unremarkable job on the cases assigned to him. He’s just an average guy with an average life. Then along comes something that will change that dramatically.

Nine years ago, a girl named Heidi Telford was murdered. Her body --- bloody and broken --- had been discarded on a local golf course, not far, it turns out, from one of the Gregory estates. No arrests were ever made, few leads followed up on, and little in the way of a case file was kept. Heidi’s father always has and still does want answers. So now he turns to George for help.

Pretty much no one in the DA’s office wants the case looked into, but George won’t be put off. Twelve years back, in Palm Beach, he did nothing while a young woman was violated, and he needs to somehow make up for his inaction. While he doesn’t exactly jump in with both feet, his investigation slowly gathers steam and ends up revealing potential witnesses that have scattered far and wide: Hawaii, Costa Rica, France, New York City. As he pursues them, odd things happen, and even George has to admit that someone seems to be using their influence to cover up the facts.

CRIME OF PRIVILEGE is written from the perfect point of view --- George Becket’s. His self-deprecating manner allows him to become the ideal scapegoat, taking a past guilt on his shoulders, maybe even beyond what was called for. His quest for redemption is what drives him forward, and you have to hope that he finds it before something truly catastrophic happens. It’s almost as though George would welcome a punch in the face.

Fans of John Grisham and Scott Turow especially will love this engrossing story of murder involving high society. The author's wit, dry and cutting, is razor-sharp and somewhat reminiscent of Nelson DeMille’s John Corey. While billed as a thriller, the story centers more on the privileged Gregory family than figuring out whodunit. Actually, it seems clear early on who did what. Well, sort of. But Assistant DA George Becket manages to chase around the globe after witnesses and clues, adding that extra dimension to the entertainment. Don't get me wrong, though; there's plenty of suspense. CRIME OF PRIVILEGE qualifies as a tale of moral redemption, a legal thriller, and a murder mystery cloaked in pure enjoyment.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on June 21, 2013

Crime of Privilege
by Walter Walker

  • Publication Date: February 11, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 034554837X
  • ISBN-13: 9780345548375