By Avraham Azrieli
It takes some time for most good novelists to be recognized by the public. Avraham Azrieli, a lawyer like many good crime novelists, is just beginning to be recognized as a very fine crime writer. He is the author of seven fictional books and two non-fiction works. One non-fiction book “One Step Ahead” inspired the musical “By Wheel and by Wing.” His latest 2014 drama is “The Bootstrap Ultimatum.” I read all of his seven fictional works and recommend them. Azrieli will most likely be a number one bestselling author very soon.
“Thump” was published in 2013. Besides being a suspenseful tale, the book shows Azrieli’s clever original imagination. The protagonist is T. M. Jefferson, a black man known as Thump because of his alleged sexual skills. Thump was hired by Henrietta Kingman, a white female partner of a highly respected investment firm in Baltimore, Maryland, because she found him to be very attractive, but mostly because Thump was willing to service her sexually several times a week. Kingman also used Thump to seduce rich widows to invest with her firm.
Thump realized that if he refused Kingman’s insistence that he have sex with her and the firm’s clients and potential clients, he would lose his job, so he complied for five years. But then he fell in love with a young nurse who made him vow that he would be faithful to her. When Thump told Kingman he could no longer have sex with her, he was fired. Thump responded by hiring Ruth O’Connor to represent him in a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment.
Besides the drama, what makes this tale fascinating is that O’Connor is a white woman who had to resign her position as a judge because of several statements she made about black people. Readers can decide whether they are prejudicial. A second interesting situation in the novel is that the sexual harassment suit is brought by a man, not a woman as these suits are usually brought, Thump had agreed to have sex for five years, and Thump and O’Connor have no physical evidence to prove their case against a highly respected firm run by pillars of society.
In short, this is an engrossing and suspenseful drama with well-drawn unusual characters by a very fine author.