The Family by Gerald Beckman

The Family by Gerald Beckman
Publisher: Porfirio Press (Zharmae)
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, recent Historical
Length: Full Length (305 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Thornapple

Lawyer Jay Rhodes is struggling with sobriety when he recruits rookie Aaron Arredondo to his failing South Texas firm. Hoping to gain a few easy cases from Aaron’s local connections, Jay instead finds himself pulled into the underbelly of the community: a burgeoning drug economy and ruthless world of money, family ties, and risk.

Culture clash, corruption, and greed ride shotgun in this tale of lawyers and cops, smugglers and kingpins, and murder and revenge in 1970s South Texas. From schoolyards to federal offices, no one is immune to the allure or the costs of the trade; it’s lucrative, but treacherous—and it’s not long before Jay finds that his new recruit has ambitions of his own.

This is my kind of book! Set in the 1970’s in South Texas the gritty business of drug smuggling was just really starting to become very lucrative and very, very violent. Jay Rhodes is a man fighting his own brand of demons, determined to stay sober and determined to turn his career around and become successful. Hiring a young, fresh out of law school attorney named Aaron Arredondo to help him score some cases that could make his small firm some much needed cash, Jay gets more than he ever bargained for.

This atmospheric crime drama had my attention from the very beginning. Jay has had his hands full just trying to cope with his drinking problems and the shape of his law firm. So, he may be a little out of touch with some of the latest crime developments. Despite his issues, Jay is a principled man and maybe a bit naive when it comes to the long and powerful reach of greed.  Aaron is a volatile character. Trust him? No? I don’t know? Keep reading. He’s sharp. But, he has an agenda. His agenda will take Jay on a journey he would never have imagined.

I must confess I am a Texas resident and I am familiar with some of the places written about here. The drug trade is BIG business and now it’s VERY, VERY dangerous. The subject matter is timely due to the recent headlines, but back in this time frame this issue was not well known on a national level. These small border towns are eaten alive with corruption. The lure of “easy money”.. isn’t that the way the song goes?

This book also put me in mind of a few real life cases in this time period. Drugs, money, violence, corruption, politics, the legal system all collide making this a compelling novel. There are real character developments and growth especially for Jay who will finally sit up and take responsibility for his actions and his life.

This is one of the best crime novels I have read in awhile. You will be on the edge of your seat wondering who to trust, what will happen next and I think you will find contentment with the way things turned out for Jay.

It is my understanding that this is a first novel for this author. There were few things I was not sure about , such as the mention and use of the VCR. In the 1970’s if someone had said something about a VCR to me I wouldn’t have known what they were talking about. The device was used in the television industry primarily and it wasn’t until the the early to mid 1980’s that the VCR became a common item in households. But, a few people did have them or the betamax so I’ll give the author the benefit of the doubt on that one. Everything else in the book was authentic to a fault. This book was researched and the author knew his stuff. I had to remind myself that this was not a true crime novel. Very, very well done!!


  1. The Familyis a book full of interesting plots and sub-plots that make a heck of a tale about south Texas and the initial days of the drug scene. It was a page turner for me and I’ve recommednedit to a number of friends of mine. This was the authors first published book. I look forward to more from Gerald Beckman.

  2. Eloy Perez says:

    Great reading

  3. Alexis Mays says:

    Excellently written, beautifully descriptive, highly recommend! Gerald Beckman has created this page turning, gut wrenching, edge-of-seat-sitting novel.

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