In his latest novel, Wellington (The Modern American Woman, 2014) observes and dissects an ill-fated power struggle between two brothers.
In Texas, where everything is said to be bigger, Jerry and Barry Watson are top attorneys. The two single, middle-aged brothers are skilled in the arts of argument and persuasion, as well as the convoluted inner workings of the American legal system. They know how to get what they want—whatever the cost. Their kind niece, Amanda, is married to Charles, an African engineer who’s still getting used to the strange rituals of Americans. He often becomes engrossed in philosophical streams of thought: “These beautiful sunrays had made the earthbound voyage all night long with no departure from their command. What if for some reason the spatial journey had not gone as programmed? What if the sun itself goes dead?” One Saturday, while on an outing with his two uncles-in-law, he naively suggests that the talented brothers could “both be governors—I mean, one after the other. Just something to consider, that’s all.” Charles’ comment spurs a malicious, yet unspoken, fight between Jerry and Barry as they stealthily compete to fill the open leadership positon. The conflict leads to a slew of plot twists, including an unearthed family tragedy, a sick love triangle and a dangerous hot air balloon ride in Africa. Such varied, adventurous turns will likely captivate readers and keep them guessing until the end. However, the packed plot can become confusing and sometimes loses its way, spending too much time on the concept of “the African Matriarch” and Amanda’s exact relation to her uncles. Overall, however, the story provides a wild ride through a power struggle; recommended for readers who enjoy a fierce family feud.
An often engrossing, if sometimes-confusing, murder mystery/adventure that’s full of twists and turns.