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Supreme Justice: A Novel Of Suspense

Supreme Justice: A Novel Of Suspense

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by Gary Hardwick

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Young U.S. attorney Marshall Jackson is handed the biggest case of his career when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Farrel Douglas is gunned down during his commencement speech at a Detroit law school. Conservative Justice Douglas had more than a few enemies in the city's African-American community, and no one is surprised when radical activist Daishaya Mbutu is quickly


Young U.S. attorney Marshall Jackson is handed the biggest case of his career when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Farrel Douglas is gunned down during his commencement speech at a Detroit law school. Conservative Justice Douglas had more than a few enemies in the city's African-American community, and no one is surprised when radical activist Daishaya Mbutu is quickly charged with the crime.

But when contradictory evidence turns up and forensics shows there might be more to this murder than meets the eye, Marshall is forced to take the investigation into his own hands. With the help of his childhood-friend-turned-cop Danny Cavanaugh, Marshall takes a closer look at the case. It isn't long before he's made a slew of enemies of his own in the African-American community—and, Marshall fears, in the federal government.

As Marshall's safety and the lives of those around him become increasingly at risk, he makes a shocking discovery. The one person who can name Justice Douglas's killer is his own twin brother, Moses, a hardened criminal to whom Marshall hasn't spoken in years. Now this by-the-book prosecutor must ask his street-smart brother for help, putting aside the bitter blood feud that has raged between them since childhood. For justice, for a country on the verge of racial division, and for his own life, Marshall follows a twisted trail of guilt straight up the political ranks to a dangerous—and unexpected—source.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Beatings, knifings, and shootings as a Supreme Court Justice gets murdered and nuance takes a holiday. On a mean street in Detroit, a pair of black youngsters whale away at each other as is their wont. Moses and Marshall Jackson are fraternal twins but as different as Cain and Abel–or as good and evil, which seems their author's intent. Moses has stolen Marshall's bike and sold it in a transgression representative of his unbrotherly behavior. In the fullness of time, he grows into a career thief and cold-blooded killer, while Marshall treads the straight and narrow, escapes the ghetto, goes to law school, and—being ambitious, industrious, bright, brave, and an all-around good sort—is soon positioned close to the top of his profession. When Associate Justice Farrel Douglas (the sole African-American on the Supreme Court) is assassinated, Assistant US Attorney Jackson gets the case—even before there's a suspect. Is race a key factor here? Perish the politically incorrect thought, fulminates his boss; it's simply that Marshall is the best qualified person for the job. Soon enough, in any case, a suspect does materialize, and he's a live-wire. Daishaya Mbutu, unreconstructed black radical, spends every waking moment claiming responsibility for the killing. He wants the world to know that he "took care of Douglas," since Douglas was that despicable thing, a black conservative. So Marshall begins to prepare the case against Mbutu, but it seems too easy, a no-brainer. Could there be a conspiracy of some sort? The answer is yes, of course. And when all the dead bodies are sorted through—Marshall, an ex-Marine, snaps off more than a few shots along the way—it becomesclear that the conspirators are highly placed indeed. Not much to cheer about in this overwrought third effort. Hardwick (Double Dead, 1997; Cold Medina, 1996) has done better.

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Chapter One


"No Douglas! No Douglas!"

The crowd chanted loudly outside of Masonic Temple in Detroit. A few snowflakes fell front the winter sky, adding to the white blanket that covered the area. It was January, and the cruel Michigan winter was in full swing. People held their signs and placards high as TV cameras panned the crowd.

The protestors had come out for Farrel Douglas, associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. Douglas had won his seat on the Court by a narrow margin in a politically charged congressional confirmation.

Douglas was a black conservative, a badge that he wore with pride, but many in the black community hated him for it. Groups from all around the country had bitterly opposed his appointment. And since he'd been sworn into office, Douglas had consistently voted against affirmative action, minority districting, anti-discrimination laws, and every other liberal measure. He'd also voted for just about every conservative cause that came up to the court. He even wrote the majority opinion in a case that stopped black medical schools from using race as an admission requirement.

The signs in the crowd illustrated a singular dislike of Douglas. Some showed Douglas as a lawn jockey, others showed him with a "mammy rag" tied around his head, still another pictured him in a KKK hood. BLACK RACIST, TRAITOR, UNCLE TOM, the signs spelled out the hatred and disgust of the crowd.

Douglas was set to speak at the winter commencement of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit. It was a controversial choice that had brought national attention to the city as well as to the lawschool. Many other schools and institutions had turned Douglas down for speaking engagements, but WSU's dean had not relented to the pressure. He booked Douglas for the event and had not backed off, despite tremendous opposition.

Police patrolled the area, keeping the protestors at a legal distance. Secret Service and FBI agents were strategically posted, holding their earpieces and talking into hand microphones.

On the street, beyond the auditorium, a TV news team interviewed a tall man with a thick black beard. He was dressed in a big overcoat and wore a hat made of African kente cloth.

"...So, we are here to protest this Uncle Tom in black robes!'' said the tall man. He eyes were narrowed, his mouth in a snarl, and white smoke puffed out at his every word. "Farrel Douglas is nothing short of a race traitor, a modern-day Judas. I am a follower of Daishaya Mbutu, the only true black leader. We are appalled that anyone would bring Farrel Douglas here to Detroit, where we have a black majority."

"Why is there so much hatred for Douglas in the African American community?" asked the reporter, a pretty Asian woman. "Doesn't he have a right to his opinions as a judge?""Farrel Douglas is not a judge, he is a plague, a vile sickness on our race. He has helped our enemies destroy us, and for what? He wants to be accepted by the white race. But they will never accept him. They are Just using him to destroy us."

Suddenly, there was a loud murmur within the crowd. Several people pointed to the street. A long white limo rolled toward the auditorium. It was lead by a police cruiser. Another police car followed behind the limo. The crowd began to yell obscenities and moved toward the white limo. Police tried to hold them at bay.

Douglas had turned down offers to sneak into town. He'd said on a news program that he was going to walk right in the front door of Masonic Temple. When asked why, Douglas had stated: "I won't take the back door for white people, and I sure as hell won't do it for black people." This comment had only put more fuel on the fire.

The security men pushed the crowd back as the limo's door opened.

Farrel Douglas got out. He was a tall man, with a tangle of thick salt-and-pepper hair. The crowd booed loudly and threw debris at the justice. Douglas looked at them with disinterest. He set his eyes on the doors to the building, and started toward them as if he were headed for the promised land.

The security men flanked Douglas, then enclosed him in a tight circle. They pushed and shoved their way through the crowd to their goal.

The air was filled with yelling, profanity and chanting. Flashbulbs exploded, and the TV camas's hot lights poured over the spectacle. Douglas and the security officers moved slowly, but steadily, toward the big wooden doors.

Halfway to their destination, a small black man broke through the security circle, and spit on Douglas's coat.

"Fuckin' Tom!" yelled the man.

A big FBI man pushed the smaller man back. The crowd screamed its disapproval and rushed toward the justice. The security circle started to break. The security men began to talk into their mikes all at once, then pushed Douglas faster to the doors.

The crowd was now a mob, and it pursued them. The agents fought the crowd, inching their way to the auditorium. Douglas showed no fear. He never took his eyes off the big auditorium doors as he moved.

Finally, Douglas and the agents arrived at the landing to Masonic Temple's entrance. A female FBI agent opened the doors. The crowd backed off a little, still yelling insults. Douglas started into the building, then stopped. Without warning, he turned on his heel and faced the angry mob. He stood there a moment, his face still expressionless. Then he smiled, and raised a fist.

"Power to the people," he said. Then he walked back inside.

The crowd exploded in screaming and cursing. Debris landed on the big doors as they closed with a loud clang, shutting out the mob.

High in the dark rafters of Masonic Temple...

Supreme Justice. Copyright © by Gary Hardwick. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Gary Hardwick is the author of the novels Cold Medina, Double Dead, Supreme Justice, and Color of Justice. A former attorney, he is also the screenwriter and director of the hit films The Brothers and Deliver Us from Eva, as well as a television executive producer. Born and raised in Detroit, Hardwick now lives in California and is currently working on his next motion picture and novel.

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