The Outsider: Anthony Franze
Imagine becoming a law clerk for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after spending many days and months delivering the mail. Grayson Hernandez wants his shot at the big time and hoping to pay off college debts and graduating from a frontier law school the only job he was able to get was as a messenger. But, things are about to change as he hopes to become part of the Supreme Court’s elite group of lawyers who work and serve the justices’ of the court as law clerks. But, watching from the outside looking in and not able to be part of this group tends to make him feel as the title states as an Outsider in more ways than one.
There have been several murders and violent attacks as Grayson finds himself on the front end of an attack on the Chief Justice of the United States. The violent mugging and his ability to save the Chief Justice since practicing his boxing and defense skills since his was young with his father came in handy and would put him in the justice’s good graces. Finding himself now promoted to his newest law clerk he uncovers many cliques, secrets an learns a lot about these justices who rule the courts and the lives of so many who they hope will find it in their power to either grant them a short sentence, leniency or a full acquittal after spending time in prison. Things are not that simple at first as his fellow clerks are not that forthcoming, friendly and one named Lauren Hart, has stolen his heart, his attention and his thoughts. Smart, beautiful and seriously brilliant she often helps guide him and does show him the ropes. Things change as they learn that the mugging of the Supreme Court justice might be linked to several others that have recently taken place and when Agent Milstein of the FBI corners him and approaches him his new life just might fall in the cracks as they are trying to have him be the confidential informant and keep a pair of fresh eyes on what is happening inside One First Street. As we get to know the different players, join them on different social engagements, meet Samantha his closest friend and snob when it comes to politics and his job, we also learn about his affiliation with a drug lord named Arturo. The author brilliantly flashes back to their friendship, how he till this day protects Gray and his family and why the connection although not that strong will never be broken. Gray is observant and when entering the office of one of his co-workers he finds a clue that might incriminate him in the murders that have taken place. A woman in a convenience store, another at a bridge and many more before all is said and done. Giving this important clue to the FBI might take the heat off of him but eventually the light will shine on him and he needs to find out who the killer is before he is taken in as the primary suspect in the murders. Can he learn the truth before another body falls? Lies, secrets, betrayals and deceptions and a story that can be ripped out of the headlines as many lawyers, judges and law enforcement agencies and people often raise the bar and the stakes for power, greed and revenge. Anthony Franze explains in detail which I found interesting the four things that are required of a law clerk: cert pool memos, and death penalty stays, writing bench memos and summaries of each case that the justice would use to prepare for oral arguments were just some of what Grayson and the other clerks has to work on. But, in fighting, arguments, jealousies, backstabbing and more as each clerk wanted that one case that would set them apart from the others.
Links to all the murders stem from a computer based in the Supreme Court building and Grayson is asked by the FBI to investigate and find out which one. With Milstein and her partner Cartwright sifting through documents that might link them to the murder of Adam Nowak in the fire, what they find is that he is linked to another murder of someone close to the Supreme Court Justice and that Justice Douglas was the judge who handed down a verdict that allowed someone dangerous to go free because the police obtained the information illegally. However, what else they learn as they sift through box 8 and the documents inside of this box will enlighten them even further but will it bring them closer to the killer. It seems like this might be linked to the convenience store murder, the lawsuit that was settled but not to everyone’s satisfaction as the author allows readers to hear what the verdict was, understand why the family won’t talk to the police or FBI and what the link to the other murders might be. But, Grayson gets pulled into it more and although he realizes that he should not get any more involved with trying to find out who is behind the murders, he gets sucked in as he learns more about the family of the victims, what they have to do with the cases from the past and how they link to the Chief Justice in the present. Added in he is given a rent free year to live in the Judge’s condo but when asked to vacate for one night the two people entering change his perspective on things.
Grayson has not had too many people in his life that he can trust and when things turn the Feds against him and he is not the prime suspect in the Fire murder, the killing of a lawyer, the solicitor general, a ex-agent, his son and another girl and several others he realizes that someone is playing a dangerous game. The envelope that he was instructed to present to Justice Wall provides the key as Lauren is kidnapped and no where to be found and he is forced to hide out with the two people that have always been there for him: the drug lord Arturo and Samantha. But, when he figures out the key from the paper in the envelope you won’t believe what he figures out and who these murders were cleverly orchestrated. Revenge, games that are deadly and competitions that would end in death as Grayson and his own team race the clock to prevent another murder but will they get there in time with the police and Feds on their tail? When the smoke fills the air and the truth is revealed author Anthony Franze expertly, brilliantly and vividly takes us inside the mind of a psychopathic killer and who planned out each murder with definite precision. Gang wars, death threats, three Supreme Court Justices: Cutler, Wall and Douglas each one falling prey to a killer so diabolical and disturbed as they all fight for their lives, Grayson and Arturo facing their foe but who will survive the killer’s wrath? It’s about winning a court case but just which one would this lead back to and why did this killer target these three justices? When a federal court judge throws out evidence against Ken Tanaka for kidnapping and the murder of Kimberly Whitlock and related kidnapping charges concerning the surviving sister and brother someone has to pay. Children kidnapped, witnesses was them talking to Tanaka who worked at a family convenience store the same one where the girl was killed. The murder of a lawyer close to one justice, a fire that would take another life, a young woman murdered in a convenience store, and a mugging that could have cost one justice is his but started Grayson on a career that he would either regret or cherish. With his father constantly putting his choices down wondering why he would want to eventually work for a law firm that would pay him a huge salary, his best friend Samantha seeming distant at times just who would come to his aid when the heat is on, the death toll is rising and someone needed to stop what the killer intended to continue until everyone paid for the crimes the killer wanted avenged. When the dramatic ending is revealed and you hear the final words as Grayson comes face to face with the killer but can this person be stopped? Revenge, anger, power, control, discord, trust, hate, deceit, lies and betrayal are just some of what each character learns at the hand of others but will Grayson realize that when looking for support he had it right there all the time and although he thought he was he was never really: THE OUTSIDER!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine