Many thanks to Net Galley for this book
Old money was an intriguing title and I must agree that the author managed to do full justice to it. The cover is also very classy and apt to the story and definitely predisposes one to pick up the book. After all, who won’t be intrigued by the possibility of millions of dollars in cash hidden in a given locality for anyone to find. Well, maybe not Indians so much because there would be stories of curses and other dire consequences predicted to engulf anyone foolish enough to try and find any such pot of old. (Trust me, I married into a family whose entire ancestral village can pinpoint the location of several hidden pots of gold but are scared out of their wits to ever touch it out of fear.)
Jake Crosby became a forest warden like he always wanted to, but only at a later stage in life. He is enthusiastic and seems to consider his job as something on par with other security agencies working towards keeping the community safe. That not everybody agrees with that assessment is not hard to understand. His wife, Morgan is trying hard to keep the bills of the house in order even as she manages a new born, a kid in kindergarten and an extremely unruly and undisciplined dog. Considering what her days must be like I felt complete sympathy with her irritation at her husband’s decision to dump a well-paying job and ‘following his heart’ – and applauded her for supporting him nonetheless.
Jake’s partner is Virgil, an older, cynical warden who genuinely loves nature and all its tiny creatures, is a font of tiny mostly unknown facts about many things under the sun and has to tendency to annoy people when challenged about the very same. Jake seems unbearably naïve at times and one can be forgiven for trying to tell him to stop acting like a 20-year-old with a corresponding enthusiasm level, but he is sweet too. I liked Virgil best. He is just the type of person who makes a perfect foil for Jake – his practicality and eccentricity keeps Jake in check while his loyalty for his partner makes him a stand-up guy one can always depend on.
The set-up of the storyline was actually pretty good. The lost money and the antics of the Bolivar twins are both interesting and (unintentionally?) hilarious at times. Though the Bolivar twins are time and again described as ‘dangerous’ and though they do manage to do some pretty desperate things, it is hard to take them seriously. The side plots of the judge and the robberies were alright too.
And yet, why can I not give this book a full-throated shout out of approval? I realize that it is because the problem I had with the language or, more precisely, the editing of the book. The language could easily have been modified into a more refined and tighter note, both in the dialogues and the general text, by the simple process of clubbing several short sentences and changing a few words here and there. It would immediately have raised the novel to a caliber much higher than the one at which it currently resides. The writing style manages to bring this pretty good plotline to something that is just alright.
Can be read once for sure.