Patricia Hunt Holmes
Categories: Mystery / Thriller / Women’s Fiction
Publisher: River Grove Books (Greenleaf Book Group) ** June 8, 2021 ** Number of Pages: 326
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A Texas Reckoning
In the early morning hours after a law firm recruiting party at a beachside house on Galveston Island, a female summer intern is found lying on the floor, bruised, bleeding and unconscious. Four men and one young woman attorney who were staying at the house know something terrible happened.
The woman attorney takes her to a hospital but the next day the intern disappears. All of them decide to keep silent, doing nothing about the incident in order to further their own career ambitions while the events of that night haunt the two women. Time passes and then ten years later, crime and hubris bring the former intern back into their lives. Only this time she has the power and the truth is finally brought to light, uprooting everyone’s plans. From the power centers of Houston law and oil to the fracking fields of South Texas to the Jersey Shore and Washington D.C., this story chronicles the struggles of two ambitious young women in their quest for legal success and justice.
PRAISE FOR CRUDE AMBITION:
“Crude Ambition is a great read. It is an authentic look at big law in Houston and the Texas oil business. Patricia Hunt Holmes weaves a story of ambition, greed, romance and revenge that kept me turning the pages until all the just desserts were served.” — Marc Grossberg, J.D., Author of The Best People: A Tale of Trials and Errors
“In Crude Ambition, Patricia Hunt Holmes shows she knows Texas in the way Grisham knows Mississippi—politics, environment, strong men and strong women, egos, oil, arrogance, influence and hunger for power. I don’t think anyone could have nailed it better.” — Bill Sarpalius, Former U.S. Congressman, Author of The Grand Duke of Boys’ Ranch
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It’s always good when a book reflects the title in a way that makes the reader think “aha” and Crude Ambition does that. From the ambition of the senior partners in the law firm where Carolyn is struggling with moral and ethical decisions, to her own ambition to be somebody more successful than what she deemed her mother to be, or her friends in the small town where she grew up, that tension is always there, and ambition drives every character’s actions.
It was interesting to see Carolyn in that small town when she goes there from Houston to visit her father and find out what’s going on with her brother, who has gotten tangled in a mess of corruption and is trying to take over the family ranch . Then, of course, there’s Carolyn’s relationship with Kenny, the boyfriend from her past who wants to become the man in her life in her present.
At times, Carolyn is conflicted between wanting to give it all for her career or wanting the peace and slow pace of country living. As someone who appreciates the benefits of country living, I kept pulling for the latter for Carolyn. Especially since she felt so at home there, despite her ambitions, and the old embers of attraction to Kenny sparked a new interest. The first time he calls her “darlin'” in that soft Texas drawl, we know it won’t be the last.
It was nice the way all of the elements in the story eventually came together to right the wrong that occurred in the beginning of the story, as well as showcasing how the quest for more money can push people to extremes, allowing them to believe it’s okay to cut corners in order to make more money. There were places where I thought the story got bogged down in detailed descriptions and detailed background information about characters that really slowed the pace. I also thought the timeline could have been shortened between that wonderful opening scene that really pulls a reader in, and the final resolution to what happened that night. However there were things that needed to happen to the characters in order to set up the ending of the story, and maybe that’s why there is such a significant time-span. Also, readers who like detailed back story on characters, won’t find that a problem, which is one of the beauties of fiction and readers. We all have different reactions to the same story.
This book is a blend of straightforward fiction and romance with a bit of suspense thrown in. The best scenes were when Carolyn was at home on the ranch dealing with her brother, spending time with her father, and working with Kenny to preserve the integrity of the land, as well as her own integrity. For me, that’s where Carolyn became more endearing as a character.
The resolution was was very satisfying in that the bad guys got their comeuppance, and we see hope and happiness in Carolyn’s future.
And don’t forget the cowboy!
Patricia Hunt Holmes spent 30 years as a public finance attorney with a large international law firm, specializing in nonprofit healthcare finance and rural electric cooperative finance. Consistently listed in Best Lawyers in America, Texas Super Lawyers, and Top Lawyers in Houston, she was a frequent speaker at national public finance and health care conferences. Patricia has also served on the faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Tennessee, and University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She has written and published in the fields of intellectual history and law.
In addition to her legal career, Patricia has been a member and board member of several social service organizations throughout Houston, including the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast Women’s Initiative, Dress for Success Houston, the University of Houston Women’s Studies Program, University of Houston Law Review Board of Directors, is a Trustee of the Houston Grand Opera, and Houston Justice for Our Neighbors.
Patricia grew up in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey but has lived in Houston for over 40 years. She has two daughters, Hillary and Ashley, who have successful careers as an attorney and a geologist, and three adorable grandsons. She is an avid golfer and traveler.
Patricia holds a BA in English and History, an MA in History, and a PhD in Russian and South Asian History with honors, all from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She received her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center and was an editor on the Houston Law Review.
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