In Cooley’s (Shaken, Not Stirred, 2013) legal thriller, a U.S. Supreme Court policeman uncovers a conspiracy while searching for the people who bombed the Supreme Court.
Jason Lancaster of the Supreme Court Police lost his love (and boss), Miranda Whitney, in a series of early morning blasts that also took the lives of four justices. Homeland Security initially considers Jason a suspect since he happened to be late for work on the day of the bombing. But Special Forces–trained Jason convinces DHS Officer George Aug to let him examine an unexploded bomb, tracking a cellphone detonator to Detroit. Meanwhile, Reginald and Rosemarie Irving, a former president and first lady, persuade the current U.S. president, Antonio Salas, to fill the vacant Supreme Court seats as soon as possible. The Irvings already have nominees lined up, but they may have a secret agenda. This complicated, lengthy thriller ably juggles various supporting characters and subplots. Ambitious lawyer Dennis Coutts and law school grad Janaki Singh, for example, ignite a romance together but are both integral to the main plot. He’s vetting justice nominees; she’s helping nominee Judge Isaac Goldman write a biography. Copious surprises, including a cryptic phone call to Jason that leads him to believe Miranda is still alive, stoke interest. Those behind the bombing aren’t revealed until the end, and the novel’s pinnacle scene—Jason confronts a prime suspect—is a recurring sequence told from varying perspectives. The justice nominees all come with their own baggage, as in the case of Notre Dame professor Cecilia Koh, whose student is attempting to blackmail her. Jason’s a fine protagonist who skillfully dodges (most) bullets from a sniper taking shots at him in his apartment. But the delightfully puzzling Rosemarie is the best; just watch how effortlessly she takes care of the aforementioned blackmail.
A scorching pace makes this savvy thriller a quick read.