The Tenth Justice
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The Tenth Justice

4.0 90
by Brad Meltzer

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In The Tenth Justice, 26-year-old Columbia Law grad Brad Meltzer brings his dynamic voice to unexplored legal thriller territory -- the Supreme Court -- in a firecracker debut that will challenge your expectations of the genre.

Fresh out of Yale Law, Ben Addison is a new clerk for one of the Supreme Court's most respected justices. He's as bright and

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In The Tenth Justice, 26-year-old Columbia Law grad Brad Meltzer brings his dynamic voice to unexplored legal thriller territory -- the Supreme Court -- in a firecracker debut that will challenge your expectations of the genre.

Fresh out of Yale Law, Ben Addison is a new clerk for one of the Supreme Court's most respected justices. He's as bright and conscientious as they come -- and just as green. When Ben inadvertently reveals the confidential outcome of an upcoming Court decision, one of the parties in the case makes millions. Needless to say, Ben starts to sweat.

Ben confides in his co-clerk and turns to his D.C. housemates for help. The young Washington professionals offer Ben their coveted insider's access -- at the State Department, a senator's office, and a Washington newspaper -- to help out snake the blackmailer who holds Ben's once-golden future hostage in exchange for more information on upcoming Court decisions. But it's not long before the inseparable friends discover how dangerous their misuse of insider power can be. When a suspicious leak develops from within their circle, they find themselves pitted against each other in a battle of shifting alliances and fierce deceptions that threatens their friendships, their careers -- and ultimately their lives.

With dialogue as true as it is sharp-witted, characters as likable as they are familiar, and a plot so addictive it will keep you listening into the night, The Tenth Justice is the one thriller you and your friends will find yourselves talking about this year, from an undeniably original writer you'll be following for years to come.

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Editorial Reviews
When Ben Addison, a young law clerk for a powerful Supreme Court justice, is tricked into revealing the confidential outcome of an upcoming court decision, his career -- and life -- may come to an abrupt, premature end.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The high price of ambition is explored in Meltzer's debut novel, a crafty legal thriller set in Washington, D.C. Ben Addison, a Yale Law School grad, is working as a clerk for a highly respected Supreme Court justice and being aggressively courted by a prestigious law firm. But this golden boy is brought down to earth when a wily con artist dupes him into revealing the confidential outcome of an upcoming Court decision involving millions of dollars. Terrified of ruining his career, Addison refuses to go to the authorities and admit his mistake. Instead, he enlists the aid of his co-clerk, Lisa, and of his conveniently well-placed D.C. housemates-Nathan, who works for the State Department; Eric, a reporter for the Washington Herald; and Ober, who clings to a menial job in a senator's office. Addison's friends also circumvent the law to help him, putting themselves at risk as lies, suspicions, accusations and betrayals threaten to tear the group apart. Addison is a difficult character to root for, not only because he is so willing to risk his friends' careers and lives to save his own, but because he seems too immature, petulant and self-absorbed. But Meltzer moves the story along at a crisp pace, spicing the action and legalese with lively banter and intriguing D.C. arcana. Meltzer's shadow-filled world will entertain most readers but it will rivet few; as Lisa says of some early threatening events: "This isn't The Firm." Major ad/promo; Literary Guild "Super Release"; author tour; audio rights to HarperAudio; foreign rights sold in the U.K., Germany, Japan, Israel and Finland; film rights to Fox 2000. (May) FYI: Meltzer, 26, wrote this novel while attending of Columbia Law School.
Library Journal
This debut novel, a legal thriller, is also the first in a trendy new imprint.
School Library Journal
YA--This story of friendship and betrayal is set in Washington, DC, where four young men who have grown up together become housemates, each with his first big job opportunity. One of them, Ben Addison, is a brand-new clerk for a Supreme Court justice. Ben and his co-clerk Lisa are two of the best and the brightest of the legal community, their intelligence only barely exceeding their egos. But early in the Court session, he is tricked into revealing the confidential outcome of an upcoming decision to a man posing as a former clerk, and one of the parties in the case uses the information to make millions. Ben is in danger of losing his job, his reputation, and any chance for a place on the ladder to legal fame and success. Desperate to find the man who tricked him, he enlists the help of Lisa and his housemates. When the elusive villain tries to blackmail Ben into revealing further Court decisions, the search becomes even more intense, and Ben realizes that one of his friends is leaking the group's plans to the blackmailer. The story builds to an action-packed and satisfying conclusion, but lives are shattered in the process and the fabric of friendship is torn apart. YAs will be confronted by issues of loyalty, integrity, and trust, and at the same time will learn much about the decision-making process of the Supreme Court.--Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Loose lips sink careers in this barn-burning first novel about a Supreme Court clerk who runs his mouth to a disastrously ill-chosen confidant.

The Solicitor General is often called the Court's tenth justice, but don't tell that to the Court's 18 clerks, who are convinced the world revolves around them. So it's not surprising that Justice Mason Hollis's clerk Ben Addison, who knows the results of all the Court's decisions long before they're announced, mentions one of them to Rick Fagen, one of Hollis's old clerks. Alas, Rick is an imposter who never clerked for Hollis, but who's just wormed his way into Ben's confidence to get a tip that will allow him to make millions on the insider info. Worse, Rick seems to know everything about Ben's puny efforts to find out who he really is. Does he have an in with Ben's fellow-clerk Lisa Schulman? Or could he be getting the skinny from one of Ben's roommates—senatorial assistant William Oberman, State staffer Nathan Hollister, or Washington Herald reporter Eric Stroman—all of them childhood friends? Ben determines to nail Rick for his perfidy, but Rick simply responds by stepping up the pressure, demanding further tipoffs on sensitive cases and threatening to reveal Ben's involvement to the U.S. Marshals, who are already suspicious on account of a news story Eric filed on possible Court leaks. The more Rick's noose tightens, the more suspicious and shrill Ben grows about his old friends, whose fear of their bosses and parents and whose unfailingly juvenile dialogue ("Drop it" and "He's dead" are Ben's stock responses to every new threat) suggest the Washington branch of St. Elmo's Fire.

Meltzer spins a mean paranoid fantasy that'll have you turning pages in a frenzy to learn whether Ben and his equally strung-out buddies ever grow up.

From the Publisher
"Brad Meltzer is one of my favorite writers to narrate, primarily because when we're recording, it feels like he's there in the studio with me. Not just because his books are usually written in the first person and dynamically voiced, but because Brad was the first author to show me just how much he cares about the audio versions of their work." -Scott Brick"

Brad Meltzer's latest entry to the NYT Bestsellers list sounds as good as it looks, thanks in large part to Scott Brick, who brings a sense of urgency to the characters. Wes Holloway is scarred in body and soul after the failed assassination of his boss, the President of the United States. Brick brings out the humanity of Meltzer's hero, who isn't a superman who laughs in the face of death, but a regular guy. You can hear his confusion when he sees a friend he thought was dead and his fear when he learns that the man who scarred him is back for a second try. And no one does icy villains like Brick. Better allow some extra drive time—you won't want to turn this off." Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

AudioFile Magazine, on Book of Fate

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Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author


Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Fate, as well as the bestsellers The Tenth Justice, Dead Even, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, The Zero Game, and The Book of Lies.

He is also one of the co-creators of the TV Show, "Jack & Bobby" – and is the Eisner Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed comic book, Justice League of America.

His first non-fiction book, Heroes for My Son, is a collection of heroes – from Jim Henson to Rosa Parks – that he'd been working on since the day his son was born. This December, he'll be launching "Brad Meltzer's Decoded" on the History Channel. And his newest thriller, The Inner Circle, will be released on January 11, 2011.

Raised in Brooklyn and Miami, Brad is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia Law School. The Tenth Justice was his first published work and became an instant New York Times bestseller. Dead Even followed a year later and also hit the New York Times bestseller list, as have all six of his novels. The First Counsel came next, which is about a White House lawyer dating the President's daughter; then The Millionaires, which is about two brothers who steal money and go on the run. The Zero Game is about two Congressional staffers who are – literally – gambling on Congress. The Book of Fate is about a young Presidential aide, a crazed assassin, and the 200-year-old code created by Thomas Jefferson that times them together. For authenticity, The Book of Fate was researched with the help of two former Presidents, Clinton and Bush. His last book, The Book of Lies, is about the missing murder weapon that Cain used to kill Abel, as well as the unsolved murder of Superman creator Jerry Siegel's father. Brad is one of the only people to interview Jerry Siegel's family about the murder and, with his charitable site,, has been the driving force behind the movement to repair the house where Superman was created.

His books have spent over ten months on the bestseller lists, and have been translated into over 25 languages, from Hebrew to Bulgarian. In The Tenth Justice, the opening lines are: "Ben Addison was sweating. Like a pig." In the Hebrew translation, it became: "Ben Addison was sweating. Like a horse." We're not sure if it's a Kosher thing or what!

Brad has played himself as an extra in Woody Allen's "Celebrity," co-wrote the swearing-in oath for AmeriCorps, the national service program, and earned credit from Columbia Law School for writing his first book, which became The Tenth Justice. Before all of that, he got 24 rejection letters for his true first novel, which still sits on his shelf, published by Kinko's.

Brad currently lives in Florida with his wife, who's also an attorney.

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Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
B.A., University of Michigan; J.D., Columbia University

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