Thursday, March 30, 2017
The Outsider by Anthony Franze
Grayson Hernadez has come a long way but not as far as he dreams of. Born in a poor neighborhood, he has fought his way out and become a lawyer. Not an Ivy League lawyer, but a graduate of a city university with no prestige. Instead of job offers at big-name law firms, the best job he could find was as a messenger in the Supreme Court. Gray is thrilled to be there as he always idolized everything about the Court, but it hurts to be in a menial position while others his same age are chosen to work as clerks to the justices. They are smarter or harder working, but they have the background and education expected of high flyers.
One day after work Gray steps in and stops a mugging in the Court's parking garage. After the intruder escapes, he goes to help the victim and realizes it is the Court's Chief Justice. The Justice takes notice of Gray and promotes him to clerk. Gray is overjoyed and is determined to work so hard that the fact of his unorthodox entry won't matter. The other clerks are less than happy to have him join the team but Gray is used to not fitting in and settles down to work. Then the police who investigated the mugging ask for a meeting.
There have been several incidents and there are signs linking the crimes to the Supreme Court. The police want Gray to be their eyes and ears inside the Court and report back anything suspicious he might see. Gray is not happy with this plan but feels compelled to help. There have been several murders each of which have occurred on the fifth of a month. The next date is coming up and the police are determined to close the case before that date rolls around. Can Gray help or will he get entangled in the murderer's plans and be executed himself?
Franze has written a thriller that educates the reader to the back scene procedures of the Supreme Court while unfolding a mystery. Gray is a likeable protagonist although naive and too easily led by those around him. As the mystery unfolds, he reconnects with his past and finds a way to merge his background and his future plans. This book is recommended for mystery readers.