Padraig had loaned Brendan "The Perk" by Mark Gimenez, so we took it with us on holidays. Gone are the days of taking 5 books each - unless you want to pay €20 per extra kilo of luggage (I'm pretty sure that's the price I saw displayed at the Ryanair desk in Carcassonne.), so we took books that we thought we'd both enjoy. And it worked out pretty well.
The Perk is labelled a "legal thriller". I don't quite agree with that description. There are many more courtroom scenes in an average Jodi Picoult book. But the main character, Beck, is a big-city lawyer, who goes back to his hometown of Fredericksburg in Texas after his wife dies of cancer and he can't cope with raising their two children on his own. When he gets home, he finds his father, whom he hasn't seen in many years, ready to welcome him and his children. As he settles into Fredericksburg, he finds it's not the small town he used to know, run by German families, and centred on the goat farming so lucrative in the old days. Now there are fancy shops, thronged by the weekend crowds, and also the meat plant, with its supply of illegal Mexican workers. Boutique vineyards have replaced the goat farms. And football, while still a big attraction to all young men, has taken darker undertones. And there is an unsolved death.
The book was yet another page turner, which filled many a happy sunny hour lounging by the pool! Not intellectually too demanding, but a good story, good characters (though I found Beck's father a bit too nice and talkative for a man of his generation and background). Thoroughly enjoyed it. And it made me curious about the Texas Hill Country. It sounds like a part of America I wouldn't mind visiting some time.