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Supreme Justice by Max Allan Collins
on 18 July 2014
When Supreme Court Justice Henry Venter is gunned down while at dinner in a Washington restaurant, the authorities assume that it was a bungled robbery. A multi agency task force led by the FBI is set up to find the perpetrators. Head of the task force is Gabe Sloan who asks his old friend, former Secret Service Agent Joseph “Peep” Reader to help with the investigation. Given his expertise in reading people and their body language – hence the nickname Peep- Reeder views the CCTV footage. Reeder, though seen as a hero for having taken a bullet for the previous President, was badly injured during the assassination attempt and now heads up a private security firm. He is, however, persona non grata with many of those on the task force for the views he expressed after the attempt so it is not surprising that his theory that the robbery was in fact a pre-planned assassination does not gain him many supporters. That soon changes when a second Justice is gunned down at his home 24 hours later and Reeder is paired up with rising star FBI Agent Patti Rogers to investigate.
What follows is a fast paced, action packed and clever thriller with well-developed characters, relationships and storyline (especially between the more cynical yet likeable Reeder and the enthusiastic Rogers) which I found to be captivating and thoroughly enjoyable. I would be delighted if the author wrote a sequel with Reeder and Rogers as I believe there is more be gleaned from these characters. The crux of the plot is also interesting to consider – could the balance of power in the US Supreme Court be swayed if certain members are taken out of the equation?