The Emperor Of Ocean Park

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9780099437345: The Emperor Of Ocean Park

Judge Oliver Garland has just died in suspicious circumstances. Conservative and controversial, Garland had many enemies. Many years ago, he'd earned a judge's highest prize: a Supreme Court nomination. But in a scene of bitter humiliation in front of a televised audience and before the eyes of his family, he had to withdraw his nomination. It was a national scandal, and a private agony, one from which he never recovered. Now, year's later, The judge's death raises even more questions than his life did and seems to be leading to a second terrible scandal. Could he have been murdered? He has left a strange message for his son Talcott, a professor at an elite Ivy League law school, entrusting him with 'the arrangements' - a mysterious puzzle that only Tal can unlock, and only by unearthing the ambiguities of his father's turbulent past. When another man is found dead, and then another, Talcott must risk life, marriage and reputation, following the clues his father left him. (2002-10-18)

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Review:

A complex, smart mystery filled with intrigue, drama, and more than a little danger awaits readers in Stephen L Carter's engaging debut novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park.

After the funeral of his powerful father (a federal judge whose nomination to the US Supreme Court became a public scandal), Talcott Garland, an African-American law professor at an Ivy League university, is left to unravel the meaning of a cryptic note and carry out "the arrangements" his father left behind. Armed with fortitude and familial devotion--though paranoid of his wife's fidelity--Talcott soon finds himself in an investigation that entangles him with a number of questionable Washington DC denizens, including lawyers and government officials, law professors, the FBI, shady underworld figures, chess masters, and friends and family. All the while Talcott tries not to hurt his lawyer wife's chance for a judicial nomination--and their fragile marriage--but the closer he comes to unravelling his father's dark secrets, the more dangerous things become.

Clocking in at over 650 pages, the novel could easily have been streamlined; many of Talcott's thoughts are unnecessarily repeated. But Carter's storytelling skills are adept: tension builds, surprises are genuine and clues are not handed out freely. The prose, while somewhat meandering, can be crisp and insightful, as demonstrated in Carter's description of the misguided paths of young lawyers who sacrifice, "all on the altar of career... at last arriving... at their cherished career goals, partnerships, professorships, judgeships, whatever kind of ships they dream of sailing, and then looking around at the angry, empty waters and realizing that they have arrived with nothing, absolutely nothing, and wondering what to do with the rest of their wretched lives". --Michael Ferch

Review:

‘A brilliant literary thriller…The suspense is unbearable…exhilaratingly intelligent and entertaining’ -- Daily Mail

‘A compulsive read…Carter ramps up the story’s energy with a constant supply of cliff-hangers’ -- Sunday Times

‘A delightful, sprawling, gracefully written imaginative work’ -- New York Review of Books

‘A significant literary event’ -- Times Literary Supplement

‘A spellbinding thriller and brilliantly observed social commentary’ -- Daily Mail

‘A thrilling read, driven by a powerful cocktail of plot and character’ -- Robert McCrum, Observer

‘Assured and well paced…Carter writes with a keen satirical edge’ -- New Statesman

‘It may look like yet another US legal thriller, but has a literary ambition which puts Grisham..to shame’ -- GQ

‘…an absorbing and exciting mystery…The book is superb, both as a thriller and as a novel of social observation’ -- Observer

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Carter, Stephen L
Published by Vintage (2003)
ISBN 10: 0099437341 ISBN 13: 9780099437345
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Carter, Stephen L
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Carter, Stephen L
Published by Vintage (2003)
ISBN 10: 0099437341 ISBN 13: 9780099437345
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