The son of migrant workers, Guillermo “Billy” Bravo is one of South Texas’ most successful attorneys, and he’s determined to see his name on his firm’s stationery. He can see it in his mind’s eye: Bates, Domani, Rockford, Lord & Bravo. But suddenly, his life starts spinning out of control. He learns that fifteen years ago, a month after getting married, a one-night stand led to a son he didn’t know he had. He’s sure his wife Yamile will hand him his private parts on a platter, along with divorce papers, when she finds out. And he’ll never make name partner if there’s a contentious divorce.
Then Billy gets a new case, to defend BostonMagnifica Pharmaceuticals against a wrongful death suit. Tomas Ray’s widow contends that a new, powerful psychotropic drug, caused her husband–a successful attorney–to kill two innocent bystanders before killing himself. Billy quickly finds himself being pressured by both his boss and BM’s CEO to make the lawsuit go away. But he soon finds evidence confirming BM has something to hide.
It is hard to put into words how I feel about this book. What makes it stand out, in combination with my naïve words, might offend or might not come out right.
To me, cultural heritage is something that I seldom think about when it comes to legal thrillers. I didn’t think about it, so I didn’t know that it was missing in books. Carlos Cisneros and his book, The Name Partner, have changed all of that. What makes it stand out from the pack of bestselling thrillers is the added depth his characters have, highlighted by their Mexican American culture.
Billy Bravo is a hot shot lawyer, father, husband, and a man. He doesn’t seem to know that many people look at him and just see Mexican or at best, Mexican American. He wants to be a name partner and works so hard, risking his family, to achieve that goal. What he doesn’t realize is that the partners will never put his name on the door, no matter how many cases he wins. This is the story behind the story in The Name Partner. It is an important lesson that he needs to learn and a prejudice that we all need to work at stopping.
The flavor of this book was endearing. I loved how the dialogue was interspersed with Spanish and Spanglish. It added something that other books don’t have, a spice all its own. It was like the icing on a great cake of the story.
There are many things that I take for granted in life. I have so much to learn, just like Cisneros’ character Billy Bravo does. I can’t wait to read Cisneros’ first book, The Case Runner.
The Name Partner by Carlos Cisneros
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Arte Publico Pr; First Edition edition (March 31, 2010)
I thank Arte Publico Press for sending me this fine work.