My Finder fan phase started with his less popular work, “Paranoia“, where he weaves a story about a particular Silicon Valley high tech corporation, one dear to my heart. I found I really like Finder’s writing style and story-telling voice. “High Crimes” is no doubt one of his most popular works, in no small tribute to the fabulous movie adaptation played superbly well by the lovely Ashley Judd and the dashing Morgan Freeman. A quick mention of my book-movie rules:
I aim to read the book before the movie if the first preceded the latter.
- I do not read any books whatsoever if the book was published as as result of a movie.I do not read sequels and I despise sequels to the classic works of literature. It is an insult to the original author by writers without original imagination and authenticity.
- If the author of a book directed sequels to the first movie, without a book to accompany, such as Mario Puzo and the Godfather movies, I watch every single movie because it was done under the supervision of the original creator.
- If I watch the movie before the book and like the movie AND Rule #1 applies, I imagine the characters as I read the book and always watch the movie again after reading the book. It never fails that I see details and understand layers beneath what appears on the screen, after knowing the author’s words and intent.
I found it irresistible not to be consumed by Claire’s story or imagine her any other way than Ashley Judd while reading the book. Perhaps that is why we create the movies; if done well, they give us the means to get even more intimate with our books. They give our characters a face, a voice, a manner, and a means to exist other than in our own imagination. Movies done well do wonders for our reading mind.
Of all his books, I think Finder is most comfortable here taking risks as a writer. He build a strong plot around the intricacies of two justice systems – the civilian and the military. Claire, our protagonist, is a stunning lawyer – in looks and quality of work – she is very close to making partner at her firm, when one quiet evening, her life is thrown off balance and her mind is sent into a whirl wheel of confusion from the events she witnesses.
The military captures her husband, Tom, in public and accuses him of the murder of 87 innocent people against his superior’s orders some 12 years ago in El Salvador. Tom insists on being framed and Claire, overcome by love and emotion, despite her faint doubts in witnessing him in a different light, commits to defend him. She overcomes a steep learning curve of military law while adjusting to the new circumstances of her husband. Grimes is a highly sought-after expert in military law with strong bitterness for the military which suits the situation perfectly. Together, they partner up to find a way out of this messy maze and defend Tom with a chance to set him free. Of all the conundrums before her, she has the most difficult time adjusting to a small detail – that her husband’s name is not Tom Chapman but Ron Kubik. It is easy to swallow the accusations if she had to, but to strip the name of a person you have known and loved and lived with for years – to know that you have called them by a name which is not theirs – is the most difficult for Claire to comprehend.
Reading is the best pastime for an active mind! If you like to see the other book reviews, check the index of In Print.
Generally I do not enjoy reading about military law, weapons, war stories, or the legal system. I find it a tribute to Finder – both for his writing style and his well-researched knowledge on the topic – for making it fascinating enough to keep me entertained to the very end. While the reviews of this book suggest a weak ending to this novel, I was surprised. I must not be reading enough thrillers to know the usual twist and turn – or perhaps I can attribute it to never guessing the ending, never trying to predict how a book ends. It is futile really – either you create the ending that will be, and you rob yourself of reading it in the author’s words, or you are wrong and have wasted your time. Nah. I like my clueless approach to reading. It affords me every pleasure intended by the writer, and every emotion he had hoped to achieve when he set out to write his thriller.