The Tenth Justice. Finished 7-15-15, 4/5, thriller, 389 pages, pub. 1997
Unabridged audio read by Scott Brick. 14 hours.
Fresh from Yale Law, Ben Addison is a new clerk for one of the Supreme Court’s most respected justices. Along with his co-clerk, Lisa, Ben represents the best of the fledgling legal community: sharp, perfectionistic, and painstakingly conscientious – but just as green. So when he inadvertently reveals the confidential outcome of an upcoming Court decision, and one of the parties to the case makes millions, Ben starts to sweat. Big time. Ben confides in Lisa and turns to his D.C. housemates for help. They offer their coveted insiders’ access – Nathan works at the State Department, Eric reports for a Washington daily, and Ober is an assistant to a leading senator – to help outsnake the blackmailer who holds Ben’s once-golden future hostage. But it’s not long before these inseparable pals discover how dangerous their misuse of power can be, even when accompanied by the very best of intentions.
For much of this book I didn’t understand how Ben, a supposedly brilliant Yale grad and newly touted Supreme Court clerk, could do and say so many dumb things. He was likeable enough, but not the brightest star in the sky (a star’s a star though, I guess) and he frustrated me. He and his three best friends had a lot of confidence in his brilliance but I wasn’t convinced.
Aside with how doltish Ben seemed for much of the book, I really liked it. The Supreme Court is always a draw for me, as is the Washington DC setting, although there was little political intrigue for a DC thriller. What there was though were enough secrets and behind the scenes negotiations, crosses and double-crosses to keep me riveted.
I liked the relationship Ben and his three best friends from high school shared and was sad when one of their fates was less than happy. It added a little bit of reality to an otherwise outlandish story.
This is my second Meltzer book but the first one he wrote and I was impressed with his debut into the novel publishing business. Have any of you read any of his newer books that you’d recommend?