Saturday, August 21, 2010

Guardian of Lies, by Steve Martini

Guardian of Lies, by Steve Martini

Not a terrible novel, but not a great one either. Defense attorney Paul Madriani gets mixed up with a former spook and current rare coin dealer, a missing Cold War missile, and a very irritated assassin while trying to protect a fugitive and clear his own name. The plot was overcomplicated but the characters were likable; the sly humor is why I finished it, though: “Only in America would you spend thousands installing an expensive electrical security system and then warn intruders not to harm themselves.”

One passage I particularly enjoyed was a rant on our government. “The political parties that occupied the House and the Senate reminded him of two retarded Siamese gorillas sharing the same brain. Together with their feeders and handlers on Wall Street, they’d spent a decade toying with the national economy, trying to get everybody in the country into houses they couldn’t afford. When this set fire to national economy, crashing markets, destroying whole industries, and generally torching the entire circus, they tripled the national debt in order to smother the flames with money.” Not the worst description of the last several administrations I’ve read.

I’d been told that Martini wrote a pretty good legal thriller, but Guardian of Lies felt like a weak Grisham knock-off—and I don’t care for Grisham. Disappointing.

First Sentence:
To the drug lords of the Tijuana cartel, the man was an urban myth—and the cops were singing off the same page.

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