For the second straight year, the American Bar Association’s Ankerwyke imprint is releasing an entertaining novel for the U.S. Supreme Court enthusiast on your holiday shopping list. Last year’s release was David Lat’s Supreme Ambitions, a tale of intrigue among elite federal appellate law clerks competing for Supreme Court clerkships. This year’s treat is Jay Wexler’s Tuttle in the Balance, the story of a Supreme Court justice experiencing a delayed midlife crisis at age 62. Lat’s novel had an irreverent tone but did not play for laughs; in Tuttle in the Balance, however, the laughs come early and often.
David Lat of Above the Law was kind enough to send me an advance copy of his novel, Supreme Ambitions. I face a difficult task at the outset: Judge Richard Kopf’s review at Hercules and the Umpire covered most of the bases already. So much in fact that I encourage you to read his review first and to consider this post a follow-up in the same conversation.
To get the obligatory plot summary out the way, below is the book jacket summary from Amazon:
Supreme Ambitions details the rise of Audrey Coyne, a recent Yale Law School graduate who dreams of clerking for the U.S. Supreme Court someday. Audrey moves to California to clerk for Judge Christina Wong Stinson, a highly regarded appeals-court judge who is Audrey’s ticket to a Supreme Court clerkship. While working for the powerful and driven Judge Stinson, Audrey discovers that high ambitions come with a high price. Toss in some headline-making cases, a little romance, and a pesky judicial gossip blog, and you have a legal novel with the inside scoop you’d expect from the founder of Above the Law, one of the nation’s most widely read and influential legal websites.
Saying more risks spoilers. The plot has many twists and turns – some of them unexpected, some of them telegraphed, but, critically, all of them making narrative sense. Supreme Ambitions is a legitimate page-turner. Lat knows the story he wants to tell, and he tells it well. He makes no secret of the themes he wants to convey, and he conveys them effectively. Overall, it’s smashing success. Read More…