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The characters in Shrake’s novel are caught in this brave new world in one way or another. Some are the princes of prosperity; others are victims of it. This is a world of lobbyists, merger lawyers, small-time politicos, sons of oil money, and the women who cheer them on or worry about their souls.
In the opening section of the novel, we visit the Texas Gulf Coast and see the machinations of Sam Guthrie and Waddy Morris Jr. as they attempt to take over a rival technology company. Back in Dallas, idealistic attorney Ben Carpenter moves to thwart the Guthrie/Morris takeover. Then we move to Fort Worth and attend the drunken party given in honor of Ben Carpenter’s thirtieth birthday. The party moved to Mexico on Cadmus Wilkins’s bus where everyone has to confront his or her inner self. And some are found wanting.
The several vignettes of the novel paint an accurate picture of Texas as it moves into the urban era and as its middle class began deserting the old verities and tasting what were once forbidden pleasures. Shrake is a first-rate stylist who knows how the upper half lives.