“Three Dollars” made Australian author Elliot Perlman and it was one of my favorite books of that year, but since then I have felt that Perlman’s work has suffered under the weight of serious intentions. “Maybe the Horse Will Talk,” despite being a satire clearly intended to be comedic (and it does have some funny moments), labors over too many pages with a plot of overpowering complexity and characters that often perform roles. The basic story – a rookie lawyer, struggling to save marriage and finances, offers to make a loathsome client’s sexual harassment charges go away – is topical but the story’s machinations paled a bit for me. Perlman writes wonderful dialogue and the corporate world of Melbourne, if a tad over-parodied, rang true. Overall, an odd mixture of lad-lit and serious satire that makes for a slow read.