Thursday, October 28, 2010

THE LEGAL LIMIT by Martin Clark

Mason Hunt takes a break from law school to visit his mother and older brother Gates in Stuart, Virginia. Although Gates protected Mason from their violent father in their youth, he no longer has any redeeming qualities. He's a reckless drunk who can't hold down a job. Mason, though, still feels a brotherly obligation, even when he witnesses Gates's cold-blooded murder of Wayne Thompson, who fancies Gates's girlfriend. Mason takes charge by establishing an alibi and disposing of the murder weapon and any other incriminating evidence. This is obviously a very bad decision that will come back to bite him later. Gates fails to clean up his act and lands in prison on a felony drug conviction. Meanwhile, Mason has become the local commonwealth's attorney. When Gates's never-ending demands for Mason to help spring him yield no results, he goes a step further and fingers Mason for Wayne's murder. I love a good moral dilemma, but it's obvious from the start that Mason has made the mistake of a lifetime by covering for Gates. How he extricates himself requires some questionable ethical moves also, and the domino effect just keeps making things murkier and murkier. The story is based on a true story, and I don't usually like knowing that in advance. In this case, though, an innocent man's life is at stake, and I desperately wanted to know how it turned out. Of course, "innocent" here is a relative term, as Mason's obstructions to solving Wayne's murder have certainly left a bereft family without closure or retribution. The biggest surprise is at the end when the author, a circuit court judge, reveals his pivotal role in determining the outcome.

1 comment:

Martin Clark said...

Thanks for the kind words. With a deep bow from Patrick County--Martin Clark