Travel Check

By Toni Cameron

Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis

Assistant District Attorney Gary Parker gets in over his head when he tries to balance his courtroom career with his bedroom antics in this legal thriller.

The District Attorney’s Office issues travel checks to prosecutors for expenses.  Assistant DA Gary Parker is assigned a travel check for Hyde County, where he is to prosecute Darryl Robinson for attempted murder.  There’s one little problem:  most of the denizens of Hyde County believe Darryl Robinson did what any red-blooded man would do upon finding his wife in bed with another man.  They feel the charges should be dismissed.

If that’s not enough to worry about, Gary Parker has a couple of other things on his mind.  He’s trying to convince his wife to accept a new job – a job he thinks would increase their standing in the community.  At the same time, he’s cavorting with his mistress, who eventually tells him she’s pregnant.  The plot is believable, but the characters are one dimensional.  Even Gary’s wife, who is the only truly moral person in the story, resembles nothing more than an unmotivated mechanical doll.  The reader is not privy to where she comes from, where she’s going or what she wants from life.  And the same is true of the other characters, who take on the form of droll contrivances.  They walk and talk and perform questionable activities, yet they are not viable parts of the story.  The reader has no one with whom to identify, no one to like, no one to champion. 

Then, just as Gary looks like he’s going to wiggle out of trouble and actually run for Senator, he’s accused of misusing state funds.  Once again, Gary pulls a rabbit out of his hat and comes out smelling like a rose.  The sweet smell of perfume quickly changes to the stink of a skunk, as Gary is arrested for the murder of his mistress.  Wait a minute!  Holy deus ex machina!  Gary didn’t really murder her.  His assistant did.  The story’s never ending run of plot twists and unintelligible characters finishes on the jagged rocks of literary fabrication.

An artless attempt at a legal thriller.