Landing a prestigious position as a Supreme Court clerk fresh out of Yale Law, Ben Addison is on the ultra-fast track to success—until he inadvertently shares a classified secret with the wrong listener. And now the anonymous blackmailer who made a killing with Ben's information is demanding more. Guilty of a criminal act, his golden future suddenly in jeopardy, Ben turns for help to his roommates—three close friends from childhood, each strategically placed near the seats of Washington power—and to his beautiful, whip-smart fellow clerk, Lisa Schulman.
But trust is a dangerous commodity in the nation's capital. And when lives, careers, and power are at stake, loyalties can shatter like glass . . . and betrayals can be lethal.
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About the Author
Brad Meltzer is the number one New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate, and six other bestselling thrillers. He is also the host of the TV show Brad Meltzer's Decoded on the History Channel. He lives in Florida with his wife and three children. His sons prefer the book Heroes for My Son. His daughter prefers this one.
Date of Birth:1970
Place of Birth:New York, New York
Education:B.A., University of Michigan; J.D., Columbia University
On Wednesday, July 9, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Brad Meltzer, author of THE TENTH JUSTICE.
Moderator: July 9, 1997, BarnesandNoble@aol welcomed Brad Meltzer, whose first novel, THE TENTH JUSTICE, was just published. Our interviewer was Jesse Kornbluth (BookpgJK), editor of The Book Report. Our online host was BookpgXena.
BookpgJK: Great to have you here, Brad. May I call you Brad?
Brad Meltzer: Of course. Though I will also respond to "Shirley."
BookpgJK: How annoying is this scenario? A law school student gets an idea. Despite a heavy work load and the presumption of a real life, he writes a book. It turns out to be good and the next thing you know, a hotshot publisher has multi copies out and it's on the NY Times bestseller list. Brad -- be honest -- wouldn't you dislike a guy like that?
Brad Meltzer: It's so sickening it makes me want to vomit.
BookpgJK: Seriously... Are you terrified to have to write a second book? Shouldn't you quit while you're ahead?
Brad Meltzer: It's the easiest thing to quit, but I'd be a fool if I ever did.
BookpgJK: Had you ever written any fiction before?
Brad Meltzer: The first novel I ever wrote, I wrote when I got out of college. All I got for it was 24 rejection letters.
BookpgJK: What was it about?
Brad Meltzer: What I knew at the time... a tale of friendship set on a college campus.
BookpgJK: Friendship seems to be a large issue for you.
Brad Meltzer: It's something everyone can relate to. We all have friends who are old friends, we have new friends we don't trust yet, and competitive friendships we don't like to admit are competitive. That will always be fascinating.
BookpgJK: I was very impressed in TENTH JUSTICE at how much these young careerists think friendship is important. We are led to believe that young careerists think only careers are important.
Brad Meltzer: Anyone who thinks friendship is not important is writing a two-dimensional character. On this planet, there is no one who doesn't think at least one friend is important.
Question: Are there any writers you look to for inspiration? Grisham? Diehl?
Brad Meltzer: When I write, I NEVER read within the genre I write in. So during this book, I read a lot of science fictionAllen Moore's WATCHMAN and Gaiman's SANDMAN. Not reading other writers' stuff is the best way to keep my voice honest and true.
Question: How long did it take you to write TENTH JUSTICE?
Brad Meltzer: About a year, 18 months. It was hard to tell because in that year I was in law school, got married, and took the bar exam.
BookpgJK: How many hours a night did you sleep?
Brad Meltzer: Few. I tried to write from 8-11 every night, but never on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, about 5 hours each.
BookpgJK: When did you know this one was "working?"
Brad Meltzer: There is a point in every novel when you stop telling the characters what you want them to do and they start telling you what THEY want to do. That is when you know it is working.
BookpgJK: What kind of research did you do?
Brad Meltzer: No one on the Supreme Court would talk to me. So I tracked down as many former clerks as I could. One of them told me, "This plot could happen." With that, I knew I was headed in the right direction.
BookpgJK: If your brand-new wife had not liked the book, would you have dumped her?
Brad Meltzer: Not a chance -- unless she REALLY didn't like the book.
BookpgJK: When did she read it?
Brad Meltzer: She is the ONLY person who reads it as I write it. And it doesn't go out the door unless it gets past her BS meter.
BookpgJK: Which character do YOU identify with?
Brad Meltzer: I'd say "Lisa" -- but I'd probably be lying. In many respects, the easy answer is true... I identified with every one of them. Tell MHanlon I do have a very strong feminine side! I know all about pantyhose!
BookpgJK: Watch out lurkers! Brad Meltzer is EVERYWHERE! Back to the book... you DON'T see yourself doing what your main character did? Making an innocent mistake that almost ends his young career?
Brad Meltzer: Everyone has been in a position where they wished they could take back what they just said. I probably did that about five minutes ago. So, of course, you could blow it at a second's notice.
Question: Do you think all the advance publicity will hurt or enhance your future as a novelist?
Brad Meltzer: Hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt -- let the backlash begin.
BookpgJK: Ok, so what have you bought with the money?
Brad Meltzer: With my first check, I paid off my college and law school loans. All we bought besides was a new couch and a new computer.
BookpgJK: Is there a film deal?
Brad Meltzer: Yes. But if you want to know what TENTH JUSTICE is about, read the book.
Question: Did you always want to be a writer? Did you always have the inkling?
Brad Meltzer: Never saw it -- even though it was in front of my face. In college, I did all my essays, regardless of the course, in dialogue form. When I graduated college, I had so many student loans to pay off that I took a job at GAMES Magazine. My boss's offer was Stay here for a year... if you like it, continue... if you hate it, leave. The week I got to work, my boss got a call from an old friend named Bill Clinton. And Clinton said, "How about running my campaign for President?" My boss left. I was alone in Boston. I knew almost no one. I figured "I have a lot of free time. Everyone has one novel. I'll take my shot." I took my first paycheck and instead of paying loans, I bought a Mac. I pumped out an 800-page monster over a year. I threw out the first 300 pages and got an agent. We sent it out to publishers and got those 24 rejection letters. That novel is still sitting on my shelves... "Published by Kinko's."
BookpgJK: Will it get published now?
Brad Meltzer: I don't see the need to clean my closet yet. I think you should put your best work out.
Question: What do you in your free time -- when you are not writing?
Brad Meltzer: I'm a movie freak. And I spend a lot of time with friends.
BookpgJK: And these friends -- do they suddenly like you more? Do they hope to be in your next book? Or do they see themselves in TENTH JUSTICE?
Brad Meltzer: My friends are smart. They certainly don't like me more.
BookpgJK: When I interviewed John Grisham, he said, "The best thing about the law was getting out of it." So did Richard North Patterson. What is it about the law that makes lawyers not like it, and will you ever be the lawyer you were trained to be?
Brad Meltzer: The worst part is all the noogies and purple nurples. As for practicing law... I'll do everything in my power not to.
BookpgJK: Did you know this while in law school?
Brad Meltzer: I went to law school because I thought it would be intellectually interesting. But I much favor my creative side -- which I get from writing.
BookpgJK: Really annoy us and tell us you're halfway through your next novel.
Brad Meltzer: I will now annoy you. I've been working on it for awhile.
BookpgJK: Are friends in it? Is the law?BMeltzer
Brad Meltzer: It's a legal thriller, but I'm bound by contract not to talk about the plot. You know how those lawyers can be!
Question: What has been the most rewarding result of being a published and critically acclaimed writer?
Brad Meltzer: Watching my wife open the book and read the dedication.
Question: Do you watch Court TV?
Brad Meltzer: Never.
BookpgJK: Why not?
Brad Meltzer: Too many lawyers.
Question: Where do you get your ideas?
Brad Meltzer: Good ideas are usually right in front of your face. You just have to know where your face is.
BookpgJK: It often happens that a young writer turns out a popular book and is besieged by offers that seem terrific write for VANITY FAIR, do a script. Has this happened to you?
Brad Meltzer: Nope.
Question: What do you think of the online chat format? Are you much of a surfer in your free time?
Brad Meltzer: E-mail fiend. But I surf rarely.
BookpgJK: Do you use the Web for research?
Brad Meltzer: Yes. That's what I use it for most.
BookpgJK: So if we could hack your account, we might figure out the plot of the new novel.
Brad Meltzer: That's cute. And yes, SMDMDW, I agree... my picture is way too serious. And they airbrushed my birthmarks!
BookpgJK: Should Matt Perry be in this movie when he gets out of rehab?
Brad Meltzer: Ask the director. (I'll play that one safe!)
Question: Do you write for the sake of plot and intensity, for the sake of entertainment? Or do you write with the intention of educating, or addressing justice, morality in the O. J. age?
Brad Meltzer: I enjoy it the most when I'm writing characters. If the characters are real, everything else takes care of itself.
BookpgJK: I thought we'd get through this without any mention of O. J., but as long as we didn't... let's find out. How many O. J. books have you read?
Brad Meltzer: Zero.
BookpgJK: If you won a date with Marcia Clark, would you go?
Brad Meltzer: Depends on who pays for the date.
BookpgJK: Her advance was bigger. Can you handle that?
Brad Meltzer: As I said, I have a strong feminine side.
BookpgJK: On the strength of this experience, do you see yourself haunting chat rooms in search of characters?
Brad Meltzer: Who says I haven't?
BookpgJK: On that ambiguous note, let me say how much fun it's been to have you here.
Brad Meltzer: Thanks. And thanks to everyone who has supported this book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A friend recommended this book to me, because I work in the legal field, and I just absolutely LOVED IT!! I think this book would even be great for people who aren't in the legal world loop, because Brad Meltzer does a really great job of working into the story the breakdown of what certain legal terms mean without distracting from the plot. I was really impressed with that. I almost couldn't put the book down. This book is definitely worth the buy.
While this novel isn't 'literature' in the traditional sense,it is escapist fiction at its best. If you're going on a long plane ride, have a leisurely weekend at the beach planned or just want to spend a rainy weekend in, this is the novel. Fast pacing, witty dialogue, suspense, paranoia, and some nifty insights into the workings of the Supreme Court make this a most entertaining read. Enjoy.
This book is amazing. I was reading it all over the place. At school, at home, at a soccer game, even while babysitting. This is my first lawyer book and it was wonderful. I couldn't stop reading it. I'm now reading Dead Even and then John Grisham's the Firm. Brad Meltzer has made me want to read all sorts of lawyer books.
The Tenth Justice is my first legal thriller, and I must confess that it was legally thrilling. Ok, bad joke, but I really did enjoy reading this book! The dialogue was completely realistic and humorous (if a bit mature) and the plot was uber mysterious. I stayed up late reading it! The twists and turns had me suspecting every one of the characters at some point. The characters themselves were so well developed it made reading a special treat. I didn't once think that Ben's, Nathan's, or any other character's reactions were fake, or questioned whether they would act a particular way. Even though it's a legal thriller, there wasn't a lot of confusing references to laws, and the cases were usually explained easily enough to understand. This coming from a girl who regularly confuses the democratic and republican parties, mind. My favorite character is Ober. He is the clown of the four close friends/roommates but he has a sensitive side. His quotes are the funniest, like when he was discussing the Batman Theory, which is basically his opinion that people's lives can be completely changed by one traumatic event. Think Catwoman, Joker, and other comic book characters. The lessons I learned from this book are 1) If you take an oath not to talk about something, don't talk about it! 2) Treat your friends with respect, you never know what favors you might need to call in. The negatives of this book are the language, sex and sex-related humor. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars, and I can think of at least one person to recommend this book to.
In typical Meltzer form, The Tenth Justice was a fast weekend read. The dialogue was a little immature between the roommates but the last 200 pages made me cheer for them. It wasn't one of Brad's best books but I still enjoyed it.
This book was great! It was hard to put down. I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I definitely recommend this book. --K--
Most people believe that the Supreme Court justices are the only ones with power when it comes to making constitutional decisions ¿ but they are all wrong. Brad Meltzer¿s legal thriller The Tenth Justice provides an interesting prospective through which a reader can view the court: through the eyes of a Supreme Court clerk. Meltzer¿s protagonist, Ben Addison, is an ambitious Yale Law School graduate who decides to clerk at the United States Supreme Court for a year. Ben is under the impression that his job as a U.S. Supreme Court clerk will guarantee him a job at a prestigious law firm of his choice. However, Ben does not realize that he will accidentally involve himself in one of Washington¿s largest political controversies of all time. At the beginning of his job, Ben gets a phone call from an old Supreme Court clerk who says that he wanted to check in on the new clerks to make sure that everything was running smoothly. Ben slowly forms a friendship with the former clerk, Rick, and accidentally reveals the results of an upcoming Supreme Court decision to his new friend. The next day, Ben finds out that Rick was never a former Supreme Court clerk. Rick only used him to prematurely find out the Supreme Court decision so that he could make money off the results of a business monopoly case before the court released the results to the public. In an effort to find Rick, Ben involves his friends and coworkers into the scandal, putting all of their lives in jeopardy. Although The Tenth Justice revolves around the central premise law and politics, Meltzer¿s novel will surely interest those who do not have an affinity for law or politics. Meltzer¿s novel is about far more than the mistake of a Supreme Court clerk, it is about friendship, trust, and naivety ¿ concepts to which everyone can relate. Not only does Meltzer touch upon a broad range of themes, his story is also fast-paced and sprinkled with original, witty sarcasm which makes the read quick and enjoyable. I would recommend this book to anyone, even someone who is not interested in law or politics, because I think it is extremely entertaining and has a powerful, useful message about trust to which everyone can relate.
My sister passed this gem of a book to me at the end of last semester. She thought I needed to read something other than a text book over break. I told her I didn't have time, but then I couldn't put it down once curriousity made me read the first page! The pages indeed turn themselves. I read straight through in one day and laughed most of the way. The main character is so real to life and beleiveable that you can't help but emerse yourself in his story. Great read for any pre-law or law student or recent law grad as well as anyone who just enjoys a lighthearted mystery.
i became a brad meltzer fan because of his work with DC comics, and I enjoyed those so much I decided to give his novels a try as well. the 10th justice is a great read and like books like the da vinci code the pages litterally seem to turn themelves in this fast paced thriller. the friendships portrayed in the book seem like your own old college/high school friends and with each double cross you'll find yourself questioning your own definition of friendship. a legal thriller without all of the drab courtroom stuff. great read
This is the third Meltzer book I've read and I enjoyed it a great deal. The characters did some really stupid things that everyone except them could see was dumb (i.e., the thing with the photographs) but other than that, I enjoyed the storyline, the characters, and the inside look at the Supreme Court, (assuming it was accurate.) I could identify with the interaction among the 4 roommates/friends and really liked the dialogue in those scenes. I will definitely look for more from Mr. Meltzer.
This book got me reading again
This is a wonderful book and I recommend it highly. If you like Grisham and Baldacci you will loveeeeee this book. So many twists it left me dizzy. If you want a good, fast paced book this is it!!
...with liberty and corruption for all -- actually 3.5stars I have a few Brad Meltzer books but this is the first one I’ve actually read and I can only say I am moving at least one more up on my TBR pile as I write this review. This multi-layered thriller set in the US Capitol gives us insight to America’s legal decisions. Naïvete, ambition and a lapse in judgment is a dangerous combination as Ben Addison proves with his second judicial clerk assignment. I would have liked the story to be a little tighter in the beginning. While easy to get into I wasn’t captivated by the world building in the very beginning. Also since the entire situation is because of Ben’s actions, I had a hard time being sympathetic to his character. Then when all of his friends got involved, I wouldn’t feel sympathetic to them either – because once again anything bad would be because of what they each did not a situation that that fell into. All of that being said I really did like the premise and the elements of the story. There was a perfect balance of supposition mixed generally regarded fact to involve me as a reader and pull me into the heart of the story. I am also a fan of the writing style and the many twists in the mystery itself.
I read this book this summer and thought it was absolutly amazing. Brad Meltzer does an amazing job with keeping you on the edge of your seats. No doubt i wil be reading more of his books and will be adding this to my Nook library.
What a great first novel. This is the only one i have read by this author, and it sat on my bookshelf for at least two years. Why didn't anyone ever tell me how good it was. I went to half price books and bought two more books by him. Cannot wait. Very exciting, not as good as DaVinci Code, but a notch below as far as the pace
This was a really good read. The characters are engaging and you really feel for them. The dialoge is fantastic, and there are a bunch of twists. Nothing really thought provoking. Just alot of fun.
This is an outstanding legal thriller. Meltzer's writing is like Grisham's...on steroids. My only complaint was that it became a little unbelievable at times. But that was only after I was so enthralled that I was willing to suspend disbelief. The twists and turns in this book will completely blindside you. An excellent read, and I'd recommend it to anyone.
Brad never disappoints! I love his writing and have read everything he's ever written. The first book I picked up of his was The Millionaires in an airport, preparing for my flight. I read almost the entire book on the flight home. He's one of my favorite authors. I didn't know this was his first novel until I finished it! Like all his others, twists and turns, action, hint of romance and excellent writing!
This is a great story with a lot of characters and twists, very enjoyable and kept me guessing as even the main character didn't always know what was going on. However it was a bit confusing at the end and was a bit far fetched at times. It played like a movie and would make a good one!
Non stop.....One minute I was 100% sure & the next I had no clue...Totally took me for a roller coaster ride....However ABSOLUTELY HATED the almost ending read the book & you will see why....Definitely a book worth the bags under my eyes & swollen ankles...Only problem with the book is WHAT AM I GOING TO READ NOW
Inside look at the Supreme Court. It seems the clerks do most the work and sometimes manipulate the Justices. A little disappointing....
Thank goodness I finally finished this book. I wanted to slap the main character upside the head so many times. Ben Addison is a star graduate of an Ivy League school, smart guy, but when he makes a mistake in judgement instead of owning up to it, he tries to "fix it", compounding the initial mistake. I had no sympathy for him or the juvenile dialog.