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posted: 6/29/2013 6:00 AM

'Crime of Privilege' misses the mark

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Associated Press

"Crime of Privilege" (Ballantine Books), by Walter Walker

How much wealth does it take to be above the law? What rules come with being a member of the privileged class? Those are among the questions posed in Walter Walker's "Crime of Privilege."

In 1996, a young lawyer named George Becket attended a party thrown by a friend of a friend. He watched two men take advantage of a young woman who was too drunk to stop them. Becket intervened before it got really ugly, and he helped her get into her car. Later, when given the opportunity to tell the truth about the events of that night, he balked. Soon after, the young woman killed herself.

Twelve years later, Becket is working for the district attorney's office. He regrets not speaking out, but the sad truth is that he has his life and job because he kept silent.

Years earlier, a murder occurred at a country club but no promising suspects emerged. Feeling guilty for not doing the right thing at the party, Becket reluctantly agrees to help the victim's father investigate the crime

"Crime of Privilege" strives to be a mix of Scott Turow and a family saga, but it's a giant slog. Becket continues to feel sorry for himself, and is a bit dull. He's the narrator of the story and that slows things down to almost a crawl. Too many characters and an obvious finale don't help.

What should have been a home run is nothing more than a bloop single. Telling the story from the perspective of one of the rich guys at the party responsible for the rape, along with cutting at least 50 pages from the novel, would have made a huge difference.

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