Steven Buechler's Reviews > The Accident

The Accident by Linwood Barclay
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Nov 21, 11


This is a stunning thriller. The narrative is filled with actual facts that sticks with the reader long after the book is done.

page 172
"Your wife's cell called Sommer's at 1:02 the day she died."
"She must have dialed wrong. And how the hell do you even know this? Where did you get these phone records?"
"We work in cooperation with several law enforcement agencies. They have provided some of their sureveillance information. This number your wife called, by the way, it's not a phone he has anymore. He goes through cell phones the way I go through cheesecake." He gave hs paunch a light pat.
'Okay, so Sheila called Sommer. Who the hell is he? I mean, what's he do?"
"The FBI links him to organized crime."
"This is rediculous."
"No, it's not," Arthur Twain said. "Sommer gets a lot of calls from women - and plenty of men, too - who are unaware he has those kinds of crminal connections. They may think he's a little shady, but figure what they don't know won't hurt them. They just think he's a businessman, a representative for a company that imports the items they're interested in selling."
"What items? When you walked in here you said purses. This guy mores purses?"
"Among other things."
"He looks more like someone you'd go to get guns or drugs."
"He can get you those, too. Especially the latter. Of a certain kind."
"I don't believe any of this. I don't get a ladies handbag vibe off this character."
"Sommer moves whatever can make him money, and purses is one of those things."
"So what are you saying? That my wife tried to buy a knockoff purse from this criminal?"
"It wouldn't have been just one, if it was purses at all. Sommer's people offer a full range of products. But knockoff bags are a distinct possibility. Have you ever head of a purse party, Mr. Garber?"
I went to open my mouth, to say, "Are you kidding? We had one right here." But I stopped myself.
"I'm sure you have," he continued. "They're pretty popular. Women get together to buy fake designer bags for a fraction of what the real things cost. It's all a lot of fun, a girl's night out, they put out some cheese and crackers, open some wine. A woman goes home with some fancy Prada or Marc Jacobs or Fendi or Louis Vuitton or Valentino bay that looks pretty darm close to the real thing. Only one whoe doesn't know it's real is her. And all the women at the party, of course."
I studied him "Don't you have real crimes to investigate?"
Arthur smiled knowingly. "That's what a lot of people say. But selling knockoff bags is a crime. A federal one."
"I can't believe police are wasting time on this when there's people getting murdered out there and drugs coming into the country and terrorists plotting God knows what. So a few women walk around with bags that aren't a real Marc Fendi -"
"Marc Jacobs, or Fendi," he said.
"Whatever. So they're walking around with a fake bag. If that's all they can afford, then they weren't going to buy the real one anyway. So who gets hurt?"
"Where would you like me to start?" Twain said. "With the legitimate companies that are having their copyrighted and trademarked work ripped off? The millions of dollars that are effectively stolen from them, and those who work for them, by this kind of crime?"
"I'm sure they're getting by," I said.
"Your daughter, Kelly, how old is she?"
"What's this have to do with Kelly?"
"I'm guessing she's what, seven years old?"
"Eight."
"Can you picture her, right now, working nine or ten or more hours a day in a factory, making knockoffs? That's what boys and girls her age do in China, working a dollar a day. Working -"
"That's right, play the exploited-children card when all those companies really care about is losing profits-"
"Working their fingers to the bone in some sweatshop ot make a bag, all so some woman from Milford or Westport or Darien can stroll about trying to fool people into thinking she's worth more than she really is. Do you know where the money goes, Mr. Garber? When a woman here in Milford drops thirty of fifty or a hundred bucks on some bag, do you know where the money ends up? The woman running the purse party will get her cut, of course, but she has to pay her supplier to get hose bags. That money goes to produce other knockoffs, but not just other handbags. Counterfeit DVDs, video games, children's toys - covered with lead paint with parts that can snap off and choke a kid to death - substandard building parts with counterfeit approval stamps on them, even knockoff baby forula, if you can believe that. There are even imitation prescription drugs out there that look like the real thing, even have the same product identification stamps on them, but don't have the same ingredients, there's no regulation at alll. I'm not talking about less expensive drugs from Canada. I'm talking pharmaceuticals from India, China. Some of these pills, Mr. Garber, they don't do anything. So you have someone on a limited pension, low income, he can't afford his heart medication or whatever, he fins what he things is the same drug on the Internet, or he buys its off a friend of a friend, starts taking it, the next thing you know, he's dead.
I didn't say anything."
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Toh Eng Lee Yup I agree with you!


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