A mordant, entertaining tale of the Texas legal system, from journalism professor, lawyer and Texas rancher Brewton.
Something is rotten in West Texas, and it seems to be emanating from the ranch of Mr. Law. When a real-estate speculator is found dead in his hotel room, it doesn’t take the district attorney and the sheriff’s department long to smell the sulfur, especially since two demanding FBI agents quickly appear on the scene. When they aren’t in full bickering mode, the good guys–the district attorney, the assistant district attorney, the sheriff and the deputy sheriff–learn the fascinating details behind the savings-and-loan scandal that cost American taxpayers a half-trillion dollars. With both artfulness and clarity, Brewton lays out the ploys that led to the massive bankruptcy–including bogus real-estate appraisals and land flips–and twines them with the murder investigation and a sympathetic cast of characters, including a rose-lover, a watcher of the night sky and the Mother Teresa of sex. Though the financial minutiae becomes tiresome, the author leavens it with lovely descriptions of West Texas, vivid accounts of the villains’ bad behavior and some enticing local color: â€œHe wouldn’t be happy even if he got hanged with a new rope”; â€œlooks like she’s been down about 14 miles of bad road–looks worse than a bull’s ass tied up with a grape vine.” For the record, she got what she deserved.
The ending leaves a little to be desired, but the journey is sure-fire fun.