A law student seeking employment after graduation lands in a conspiracy inside the U.S. Supreme Court in “The Outsider,” Anthony Franze’s latest legal thriller.
Grayson Hernandez gets a job with the court, but it’s in the mailroom. He listens to the various clerks discuss the cases and dreams of one day being in their company as an equal. One evening while heading home, he witnesses a mugging in the parking garage and intervenes. He ends up stopping the attack and saving the victim, who happens to be the Chief Justice of the United States. As a thank you, the head of the Supreme Court appoints him as a law clerk.
His happiness is short-lived, however, when FBI Special Agent Emma Milstein approaches him and asks for help. The case she’s investigating involves murder that may be connected to the Supreme Court. She wants him to be an informant, and he reluctantly agrees. As he secretly begins investigating his fellow law clerks and the justices, he soon realizes that everything seems to be pointing at him being the one the FBI is seeking.
Descriptions of the law and how the Supreme Court operates are engaging, and Franze knows how to showcase the ins and outs of that world without diving into too much legalese.
Readers unfamiliar with elements of the justice system will still find this a satisfying mystery. It’s like a mix of John Grisham and Scott Turow alongside the inner workings of the court system. Toss it all together and the end result is this winning novel.
Jeff Ayers, AP