Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Public Prosecutor-Jef Geeraerts

The Public Prosecutor
Jef Geeraerts
Bitter Lemon, Sep 28 2009, $14.95
ISBN: 9781904738381

Affluent Albert Savelkoul seems to live a near perfect life as the public prosecutor of Antwerp. He is affluent and influential due in part to the right marriage although his deeply religious wife Baroness Marie-Amandine de Vreux d'Alembourg detests him. His mistress Louise is beautiful and kind though he is considering a maid for that position. Finally he has a secret Swiss bank account concealed even from his spouse in which Albanian drug dealers donate in exchange for magically changing heroin into talc.

His wife arranges with the Opus Dei to destroy Albert. She gives them insider information that they use to blackmail the suddenly beleaguered Albert. The powerful Catholic group demands a cut starting with any inheritance he planned for his offspring. They also easily get into his Zurich account and wipe that out. Opus Dei operatives raise the ante further as they try to break Albert. He prays to God to allow him and his love to safely flee Belgium for Scotland.

The premise behind this great psychological suspense is that a big fish in a small pond can be eaten alive by a bigger fish. Thus corrupt Albert makes the thriller work as he goes from affluence to stomp upon roach rather quickly when someone more powerful sends him back to the masses as another nonentity. Fans will relish this deep character driven tale of corruption and back stabbing as the norm especially for one climbing up the ladder of affluence and influence only to be thrown down by someone higher up. Jef Geeraerts provides a powerful indictment of western civilization circa 1999 as a “Bitter Lemon” whether it is Belgium, Scotland, or the United States.

Harriet Klausner