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on 30 March 2009
Having found Mark Gimenez's last book a little disappointing I approached this one with some trepidation - but I need not have worried.

The gently-paced first part of the book centres around the lifestyle of the main character Andy, a young, unambitious lawyer who leads a bohemian lifestyle in south-of-the-river Austin, Texas, whilst scraping a living dealing with traffic violations.

Andy's life changes when he is visited unexpectedly by a well-known local billionaire seeking his services. Several twists and turns in the plot follow, and the pace shifts upwards a gear or two.

I hate the cliche "unputdownable", but there is a fifty-page stretch about two-thirds of the way through the book which is so gripping that I lost all awareness of my surroundings whilst reading it, and I couldn't predict the ending at all. On another level, the author made the SoCo area of Austin sound more enticing than any travel guide.

If you like a good thriller in the Grisham/Lee Child mould, you'll love this.
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VINE VOICEon 14 August 2011
My copy of this novel has a quote from The Times across the top of the cover "The Next Grisham". To address this directly, no it is not. There are some similar elements; a lowly lawyer gets caught up in a big plot he has to see himself through, the writing is style is flowing, pacey and easy read. However the quality of the story, its credibility and its consistency is no where near as good as Grisham. Even compared to his later books that fail to have a neat twist, at least they're consistent and fit together.

Now that's done the novel in its own right. Andy Preston is a lowly Lawyer scraping a living but having fun in 'grovey' area of Austin, Texas. His big love is his mountain bike. He gets asked to carry out some work for a rich buisness man, Russel Reeves, because of his connection with the area and things develop in an interesting way.

Overall this isn't a terrible book but its not fantastic either. I did enjoyed the characters, the description of the area and the writing style. Having been a dedicated mountain biker I really enjoyed the mountain bike action scenes.

However lots of things didn't fit together that tightly. For example Andy does a high profile job for the rich man effectively because being local it will be good PR with the community, yet Russell later ask's Andy to hire a Private Investigator for some work he want to remain annoymous from. The PI must be pretty stupid if he can't guess Andy's client from his PR job.

The unravelling 'mystery' wasn't particularly hard to see roughly where it was going, though the actual truth of the mystery was a bit unrealistic. There's also a romance that comes from nothing and the final action was exciting but not that realistic.

So in short an enjoyable read but don't expect it to hang together perfectly. I'd read another from Gimenez but it won't be a priority.
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on 17 January 2012
I really did not get on with this book and if I had to read another paragraph about Andy and his trail bike then I might have had to throw it out the window. I only persevered as I wanted to get the to end, which it took an awful long time to do. The book acctually does not really get going until half way through and for the first half it is all about Andy's passions - his bike and looking at women. I think it may be written for adolescent boys as the detail of bikes and biking is long, and his view of women very sexist.
The plot, when it eventually appears, never really gets going and never really grabs the attention. I didnt find it exciting. The only bits of interest to me were points about the health service in America and details of Austin Texas which seems a nice place to live.
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on 1 September 2009
Mark Gimenez is a gifted writer who creates compelling characters, and The Common Lawyer is no exception. The weakness for me came with the thin plot which is fairly predictable, and which was padded out with lengthy word maps of Austin. There are periods when the action comes to life and because I was involved with the characters I read avidly, but there were far longer periods when I skipped page after page of travelogue. I really hope that the pressure to churn out new books doesn't produce a string of thinly plotted turkeys, Gimenez is a better writer than that.
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on 20 August 2011
Mark Gimenez burst onto the publishing scene with his absolutely fantastic novel 'The Colour of Law' - a book that was so gripping that I read it for 15-hours a day over a few days as I just COULDN'T put it down. My husband and sons were also totally adicted when they came to read it (and my eldest son is a Lawyer himself at a major US law firm in Canary Wharf).

'The Colour of Law' immediately put Mark Gimenez, in my mind, in the top three crime writers of present time - with John Grisham and Michael Connolly as his companions.

The Common Lawyer is Mark's fourth book (he has now written five novels) and is, as always, very gripping and a fabulous ride. An ex-Lawyer himself he knows the ropes and so he can really paint a true and accurate picture of the legal system in the US.

If you haven't discovered Mark Gimenez yet then start with 'The Colour of Law' and work your way through his books and follow with 'The Abduction', 'The Perk', 'The Common Lawyer' and 'Accused'. They are all stand-alone novels with the exception of 'Accused' which is a sequel to 'The Colour of Law' and so it is best to have been there first (but not essential).

After reading one of Mark Gimenez's books then I am sure that you will be hooked and will just wait with baited breath for his next novel to be released. I know that I do! Sadly I now have to wait until May/June 2012 (it is now August 2011) for his next book 'The Governer's Wife'!
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VINE VOICEon 27 September 2012
Andy Prescott is an over grown teen pretending to be a lwayer. He wants to live his life on this mountain-bike although at the start of the book it looks like it will be the death of him. He pays the bills by being a traffic ticket lawyer at $100 a ticket. But this all changes when he is hired by the billionaire Russell Reeves. Reeves hires him to look after his interests in SoCo Austin Texas amongst the hippies and the alternative lifestyles.

Things start to get strange after Andy is asked to help his client with a secret task and when he gets to know Reeve's terminally ill child.

Everyone in SoCo is portrayed as a swinging hippie commune. All the 20 something men are horndogs dribbling at the slightest show of Spandex. All of the women from the Whole Foods store are huntresses looking for a big earner. All the students are from the cast of American Pie or on some sort of Spring Break documentary (think of all the Ibiza or Greek Island documentaries and Club 18-30 holidays if you are in the UK).

It is not going to win any prizes for writing, but it is entertaining. The science behind the plot is terrible and complete nonsense (why can't authors do some research). The portrayal of Big Pharma is good but The Constant Gardner is a much more realistic and terrifying version. It is fun and easy to read, so while it is not great literature it is a relaxing way to pass a few hours.
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on 23 August 2011
So far this summer The Common Lawyer by Mark Gimenez would rate as one of my best fiction reads. Mark Gimenez is beginning to make waves in the legal thriller market. This is another tale set in Texas, this time in Austin, and Gimenez clearly knows the area well. Detailed descriptions of the area will appeal to those who live there; maybe they're a little too detailed for those of us who don't, but they do flesh out the setting and make us feel like we are in a real place and not Anytown, Thrillerland, USA.

Andy Prescott is not a great lawyer. He mostly deals with getting people off traffic tickets. But his life is turned upside down when billionaire Russell Reeves walks into his office and hires him to handle development projects in his area of town, where Prescott is trusted but developers are not. Soon, though, we learn Reeves's main motivation - his son is dying and he has another, entirely different mission for Prescott.

This is another well-written thriller with likeable characters, although it does descend somewhat into Hollywood-style, implausible action scenes towards the end. The Common Lawyer is highly readable and comes recommended. Gimenez can do little wrong.
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on 8 May 2009
This is the 4th Gimenez book I have read, and enjoyed. Perhaps not yet a 'Grisham', as advertised on the blurbs, but coming along fast. He has an easy style, and doesn't fall into the trap of using Legalese, so the reader is kept interested and informed.

His characters are well thought out and the subject matter is varied. I am sure that as he continues to develop his characters and plots, he will achieve greater depth. I would certainly recommend him to anyone who gets bored with lengthy Court Room dramas - Gimenez is out on the streets, not kow-towing to judge and jury. A good read.
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on 10 October 2010
Hooray, i love love love mark gimenez. i actually went to austin texas because of this book. he does for texas what pat conroy does for south carolina.

i'm not going to go into the whole plot. it's funny, it's entertaining and you'll fall in love with austin. afterwards you'll buy his other four. no doubt.

p.s. keep austin weird!
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on 14 June 2010
Reading that Mark Gimenez was mooted by some to be the new John Grisham, I was rather apprehensive, not being a Grisham fan. However I was pleasantly surprised.
Yes 'The Common Lawyer' is a bit slow to start but there are some good passages, such as Andy Prescott ( a likeable, laid back character) and his three cohorts on their weekly night out, knocking back the beer and eyeing the local 'talent' - very true to life.
The book then gradually speeds up after Andy meets Russell Reeves and the second half is more exciting than any Grisham novel I've ever read. Maybe there is a little too much fist punching and 'dude' and I've lost track of all the street names during the chases, but overall a satisfying read.
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