PERSONAL: Married; children: two sons.
CAREER: Writer, novelist, and attorney. Has worked as a partner in a large Dallas law firm and as an attorney in private practice.
The Color of Law (novel), Doubleday (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Author and attorney Mark Gimenez is an attorney with experience working for a major firm in Dallas, Texas. In his debut novel, The Color of Law, he taps that experience for background in creating an "entertaining window onto the city's legal world," commented a reviewer for Publishers Weekly.
Attorney A. Scott Feeney is a former college football star who fought his way out of a working-class background to become a high-priced lawyer to the rich and powerful in Dallas. Feeney lives a successful life of moneyed excess, with a multimillion-dollar house, expensive cars, exclusive club memberships, and a gorgeous wife. However, he also tries to conduct his professional life in an egalitarian way, mindful of the legal rights of the innocent and the poor. After delivering an impassioned speech on the subject to the state bar association, he is assigned pro bono to defend Shawanda Jones, a drug-addicted prostitute accused of murdering Clark McCall, the lowlife son of a prominent U.S. senator who seems destined for the presidency. Jones admits the crime but insists the killing was in self-defense. As Feeney begins to unravel the case, his investigation angers the firm's senior partner, and soon Feeney finds himself ousted from his luxurious office, jobless. His life starts to disintegrate as he loses his house and cars, while his wife runs off with a local golf pro. While new truths about McCall emerge, Feeney takes custody of Jones's daughter, Pajamae, a girl who is wise beyond her years and who is keenly aware of the class and culture division between herself and the man who is working to save her mother from the death penalty. Feeney struggles with his own ideas on these subjects while confronting his deeply held notions of fairness and justice. Along the way, he is haunted by the question of whether his tenacious defense of Shawanda Jones is for his client, or for himself.
The story is driven by concepts of race and class, and how they mingle to provide or deny justice. Gimenez's work displays "a palpable disgust for lawyers who play dirty, pad their billable hours, and live in casually racist enclaves," observed a Kirkus Reviews contributor. The Color of Law "has plenty of twists and flashes of humor," the Kirkus Reviews critic added, naming Gimenez "a promising, distinctive new voice." Library Journal contributor Amy Brozio-Andrews concluded that "Gimenez effectively weaves elements of race, class, and justice into a story of a lawyer who rediscovers the difference between doing good and doing well."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Houston Chronicle, August 26, 3005, "State Your Obsessions," review of The Color of Law.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2005, review of The Color of Law, p. 702.
Library Journal, July 1, 2005, Amy Brozio-Andrews, review of The Color of Law, p. 68.
Publishers Weekly, July 25, 2005, review of The Color of Law, p. 38.