Author: Max Allan Collins
Published: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Legal thrillers, crime drama, fiction
Source: a copy was provided by the publisher and TLC book tours in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
A new standalone thriller from the creator of The Road to Perdition and the Nathan Heller series.
After taking a bullet for his commander-in-chief, Secret Service agent Joseph Reeder is a hero. But his outspoken criticism of the president he saved—who had stacked the Supreme Court with hard-right justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, amp up the Patriot Act, and shred the First Amendment—put Reeder at odds with the Service’s apolitical nature, making him an outcast.
FBI agent Patti Rogers finds herself paired with the unpopular former agent on a task force investigating the killing of Supreme Court Justice Henry Venter. Reeder—nicknamed “Peep” for his unparalleled skills at reading body language—makes a startling discovery while reviewing a security tape: the shooting was premeditated, not a botched robbery. Even more chilling, the controversial Venter may not be the only justice targeted for death…
Is a mastermind mounting an unprecedented judicial coup aimed at replacing ultra-conservative justices with a new liberal majority? To crack the conspiracy and save the lives of not just the justices but also Reeder’s own family, rising star Rogers and legendary investigator Reeder must push their skills—and themselves—to the limit.
I don't believe I've read Max Allan Collins previous to Supreme Justice but I have seen some of the movies made from some of his books and scripts such as: Saving Private Ryan and Air Force One. He has also written graphic novels including Road to Perdition from which a movie was made. So, obviously he's a very accomplished writer.
Supreme Justice is a stand alone novel featuring Joseph Reeder, a former Secret Service agent who took a bullet for a president he didn't like and later left to run a highly successful security firm. He ruffled a few fellow agents when he criticized the president for whom he took a bullet.
When a supreme court judge is killed in an alleged robbery; Reeder's friend, a police detective, cajoles Reeder (aka Peeps) into looking at the footage of the robbery. Played frame by frame, Reeder sees what others didn't. This was an assassination made to look like a robbery. Because of his extensive training, including being able to read body language, and his intuition, Reeder is invited to act as an advisor with the service in relation to the shooting.
Shortly thereafter another judge is murdered in his yard and it is obvious he had been followed and his routine memorized. The more Reeder investigates and watches, the sooner he realizes there's a conspiracy at play and the leaders within the conspiracy are likely people he is now working with.
Supreme Justice is definitely driven by the plot rather than by the characters and it is a real page turner. In a book like this, I don't mind a lack of character development in the supporting cast. Reeder (Peeps) was well developed, his character believable and intriguing with an ability to read people and situations that is sometimes a gift and sometimes a curse. It makes it difficult to get close to someone just as I imagine being friends with a psychiatrist would be.
While aspects of the ending were predictable, there was still an element of mystery about who and how. As the climax drew near, my only complaint is that it seemed an abrupt ending. But I would be hasty to not realize the clues had been dropped all along the path. It really was cleverly designed, artfully composed and carried out by a cunning writer.
Overall, I really enjoyed my first Max Allan Collins novel. Highly recommended to readers of Lee Child, political thrillers, legal thrillers, mysteries and crime dramas. My favourite genres!
Meet the author:
Max Allan Collins has earned fifteen Private Eye Writers of America “Shamus” nominations, winning for his Nathan Heller novels, True Detective and Stolen Away, and receiving the PWA life achievement award, the Eye. His graphic novel, Road to Perdition, the basis for the Academy Award–winning film starring Tom Hanks, was followed by two novels, Road to Purgatory and Road to Paradise. His suspense series include Quarry, Nolan, Mallory, and Eliot Ness, and his numerous comics credits include the syndicated Dick Tracy and his own Ms. Tree. He has written and directed four feature films and two documentaries. His other produced screenplays include The Expert, an HBO World Premiere, and The Last Lullaby. His coffee-table book The History of Mystery received nominations for every major mystery award and Men’s Adventure Magazines won the Anthony. Collins lives in Muscatine, Iowa, with his wife, writer Barbara Collins. They have collaborated on seven novels and are currently writing the Trash ‘n’ Treasures mysteries.