In a Greek Revival plantation mansion in Georgia, Blanton Toombs Trapnell is celebrating his ninetieth birthday. He is an abrasive and ornery old man. His three adult children come home to celebrate with him – all with a view to being favored in his will.
The three siblings couldn’t be more different:
Aimee Trapnell – a forty-something svelte beauty who lives in the Dakota, a Manhattan luxury apartment building. She lives there alone because her teenage son Benjamin is presently in a drug rehab in Switzerland. Aimee is a fashion designer who likes fast cars and snakes. She is married (for the second time) but seldom sees her husband as he lives in a castle in Germany.
Trainor Trapnell – dresses like a down-and-out redneck with a devious attitude. Trainor is the father of toddler girl Jubilee and is presently in the throes of his third divorce, that of Jubilee’s mother.
Marsh Trapnell – a diminutive man who dresses impeccably in a preppy-like style. Wily and clever, Marsh is an unscrupulous arms dealer. Conversely, he also donates heavily and anonymously to charities.
Their older half-sister:
Karen Trapnell – the daughter of Blanton’s first wife is 62 years old. The other siblings hope that since she is not in the best of health, she might die and the immense fortune will only have to be divided three ways instead of four…
Things become farcical when Aimee’s son Benjamin and her brother Trainor steal an ancient relic from her husband’s Bavarian castle. A relic that is purported to be able to cause the end of the world.
If money were no object, you were old and nearing death, what would YOU do to get your kicks? Well Blanton Toombs Trapnell wants to murder someone. Bizarre yes. The psyche of the ultra rich is explored in depth in “White Oaks“.
This was pure escapist fiction. Over the top, decadence, family retainers, brand-name dropping, secret societies, and avarice.
It was hard to fathom how a forty billion dollar fortune, divided four ways, wasn’t enough for the Trapnell offspring.
The writing was provocative, darkly comedic, and the plot moved along at a good pace.
The story was entertaining in a sort of morbidly fascinating way, yet the extreme greed of the characters along with their self-absorbed and selfish outlook marred the novel for me. I grew weary of the endless descriptions of what everyone was wearing and how much it cost. The search for the stolen relic lent the novel an absurd and preposterous slant in my opinion.
In short, not my cup of tea, but I can see that this novel might be enjoyed by others.
Published: May 30, 2019 Publisher: Black Rose Writing
ISBN: 9781684332830 – ASIN: B07SH9C343 – 227 pages
Author Jill Hand is a member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers. Her Southern Gothic novel, White Oaks, was released May 30, 2019 by Black Rose Writing.
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