With Extreme Prejudice

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE is a wonderful mystery with well-developed characters. Mike Barnett is a film critic for a newspaper in New Orleans and one of the most loyal and devoted husbands around. The problem is that his wife died in a car accident a year ago, and he is really a widower. He is becoming convinced, and quite fixated on the possibility, that his wife was murdered. Joan Barnett had been an aggressive and successful lawyer, and one case in particular had become her “baby.” Mike becomes more and more certain that this case might hold some secrets to her untimely death.

In between his quest for more information about the case of Grieve vs. Retif Mike is seeing films, traveling to openings, and working up his reviews. These reviews become an integral part of the novel reflecting his internal turmoil, criticisms of society as well as films, and his own personal conflicts. These reviews, often written when Mike is not at his clearest, take the form of an accurate and sensitive Greek chorus in the book. They add an important note to the form and direction of the story.

With compelling emotion Barton confronts racial issues, both latent and virulent. He includes strident irony, realistic confrontation with the weakness of the soul, political corruption, with a knowing and piercing stare. His novel is a breathless page-turner.