Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Last Justice, by Anthony Franze

I received an E-mail from Anthony Franze asking me if as an Amazon Top Reviewer I might take a look at his new book, The Last Justice.  Well, I went out an read the short blurb bio of the book and was hooked.  So, I told him yes, I would love to read the book.

I got a copy and put it in my stack of "to be read" fiction books.  I must admit I kicked it closer to the top of the list because I was intrigued by the premise, "Six Supreme Court Justices gunned down in the courtroom."  I mean, come on really, how could that happen.

Anthony's book was fast paced, interesting, true to human "sinful nature" and thus a bit frightening that something like this could really happen.  The book is fairly short, only 240 pages.  But it is packed with lots of plots and sub-plots.  I hope that Anthony keeps writing because I enjoyed his style.  I would kick him up my list of good writers.  I have loved John Grisham books, but his legal thrillers have gotten kind of dull.  Franze, well, dull is the last thing I would call his book.  I would say that for the first time in a long time I have found a lawyer whose books I will want to read and will look forward to reading.

Thanks Anthony for giving me the opportunity to read your book.  I hope you will write another one very soon.

Starting with the opening gunshots in the prologue until the final hectic conclusion you will find yourself drawn into a detective / lawyer / political thriller that will keep you turning the pages until you know how it ends. Anthony Franze gives us what appears to be a short book (only 238 pages) but a multi faceted look at how a crime evolves and is solved. The pace seems hectic, but that's because Franze is giving us a series of crimes that might not be connected but then again just might be connected. The thrill of the book is following several investigations in several crimes and seeing how they eventually all come together and all the investigators all come to the same conclusion (i.e. solve the crime) but from different angles, from different leads and with different analysis , but the end is the same.

Solicitor General McKenna is shot during an attack on the Supreme Court that leaves six justices dead. He seems to be a victim of the crime, but then six months later, even though he is on the commission looking into the crime and trying to solve it, he becomes a key suspect in the crime. Or is he just the key suspect in the brutal murder of a former law clerk that worked for him? Or is he the suspect in the murder of a former law clerk, a former white house Chief of Staff and maybe now the justices of the Supreme Court as well.

McKenna through a bizarre twist of fate is on the run from the authorities who believe he may have murdered at least one if not two former colleagues. They also wonder how he may be tied in to the murders that happened in the Supreme Court. The Commission he was helping lead is now looking for him and wanting to question him as a suspect.

But what he part of the crime or is he still a victim who is being set up to take the fall for more crimes that he had nothing to do with? Maybe the biggest question is this, "if he is innocent then why did he run?"

FBI deputy director Pacini is now on the hunt, but strangely he is saddled (or does he actually like having them with him) with two NYPD detectives who are looking into one of the crimes. He drags them along to all kinds of meetings, but then also allows them to run with their investigations. Then there are the other members of the commission, representing different agencies, such as the White House, The Justice Department, The Police Force of the Supreme Court, The FBI, Homeland Security, etc. etc. etc.

But the fun part of the story is this, will it be the two NYPD detectives who solve the crime, or will it be FBI Deputy Director Pacini or will it the lawyer, The Solicitor General himself, McKenna, who solves the crime? Who will solve it? How will they solve it? Is there a conspiracy a foot to change the face of the Supreme Court by eliminating six justices, or was it really just a crime to kill one Justice but the others were included to deflect from the real purpose for the shooting.

How in the world can an author bring all this to bear in just 240 short pages of a novel? Well, Anthony Franze does it and it is brilliant. His writing is crisp, short, to the point and yet it has detail and depth for being so short.

I found myself writing my own "Crime Board" while reading. I put the names on the white board, the motives, the connections, etc. etc. etc. and found that it was fun to try and be a detective as well as those I was reading about. One reviewing says it was "obvious" who the mastermind was, well maybe, but then again maybe not. I think there is enough deflection going on in the writing to help keep you intrigued and keep you guessing. If you do your own crime board you will be asking yourself a lot of questions and wondering why the investigators don't follow certain leads or certain paths and why they do follow others.

This was a great read. It was fun, it was interesting, it was engaging and it was something I couldn't put down once I started. Oh, and I totally have ignored that it shows a depth of the Political Issues surrounding the Supreme Court, the White House and the Senate and Congress. The three branches of government are suppose to provide a "Check and Balance" of each other, but Franze points out how it's possible that they pollute each other and instead of being a check and balance they become a political game for people to manipulate to see if they can change the course of our country and our legal system.

Don't just read this book for fun, but stop and ask yourself questions about how our three branches of government have drifted from "serving the people" to "serving themselves."

Thanks Anthony for a great read. Thanks for contacting me and asking if I might read your book. I was not disappointed. Please keep writing. Keep putting together good works for us the reader to not only enjoy, but also be able to stop and think through how our culture now operates.

Everyone, ENJOY!

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