Landmark Status By Alan Rolnick – Book Review
A novel based around real estate in Miami, I was not convinced that I would enjoy it. I had thoughts of tawdry love affairs among realtor’s, and board room struggles between power brokers. But, instead I found a hugely entertaining, and side splittingly funny novel that makes me chuckle every time I see the cover. This is humor at its very apex. Humor is a hard genre to be successful in but this author definitely has ‘The Write Stuff.’
Alan Rolnick has created a vignette of life in Miami with Landmark Status that deserves a spot on the best seller list. The characters are wild, bent politicians, bent land developers, and even a Ponzi scheme thrown in for good measure, and what finer setting than Miami?
The hero in our story is attorney Steven Benjamin Bluestone, Benjy to his friends. Benjy is a delightful character, and as he explains early in the book, he became an attorney because his father was one, but he has little interest in wrangling and courtroom drama preferring the more sedate type of lawyering that involves smoking Cuban cigars and ogling young ladies! He avoids at all cost the world of Real Estate, ‘Dirt Lawyers’ is how he describes them.
Unfortunately for Benjy an old client returns, one who had used his services in a divorce (something else that Benjy doesn’t do), and persuades him to assist in a ‘dirt deal’. If Benjy has a fault it is not being able to say no, when ex client, and friend Walter, who also happens to own one of Benji’s favorite watering holes needs ‘dirt help’, he leaps, albeit reluctantly, into the ride of his life.
The rather decrepit Century Club that Walter owns has suddenly become a much sought after piece of dirt. And there are few lengths that an unscrupulous developer will not go to secure it’s ownership.
The characters that Alan Rolnick has created are wild. But they are so well crafted they take on a reality in the readers mind. From the accident prone Benjy, to the money hungry mayor Oscar Torres, the even money hungrier would be land developer Chuck Steinbeck and his slightly aging trophy wife Evelyn, they are all so well described I can guarantee you will love them. And these are just the beginning, we also have love interest from the Mayors niece Delia, we have Raj the Cigar Man, oh, and of course Rico the bungling bodyguard!
This is a riotous book, you are laughing on page one, and you are still laughing on the last page. There are cars wrecked, planes burned, Voodoo curses, even cemeteries desecrated, and this is all achieved with a dark humor that I find hard to believe comes from a first time author. This is also a book that would transition easily into a very very funny movie. And I did note that Alan Rolnick is not only an attorney, and an author, he is also a director, so come on Alan, make it happen!