Sunday, May 18, 2008

Palace Council- Stephen L. Carter

Palace Council
Stephen L. Carter
Knopf, Jul 2008, $26.95
ISBN 9780307266583

In 1952, twenty important men meet secretly to set in motion a scheme to own the President of the United States. Two years later, writer Eddie Wesley finds dead one of the plotters, white Wall Street attorney, Philmont Castle, in a Harlem park. Knowing how the police think about a young black man finding a white corpse, he hides his identity from the cops.

Intrigued by the victim’s hand holding tightly an inverted cross with an enigmatic inscription, Eddie wants to know who killed the man, why, and why was a wealthy lawyer in Harlem. Over the next two decades Eddie and his beloved Aurelia Treene serendipitously investigate the murder of Philmont Castle with clues taking them to the highest powers of New York and DC while the Palace Council conspirators have reached the zenith in the early 1970s and will kill to remain there.

Although at times over the top of the Washington Monument, PALACE COUNCIL is an exhilarating action-packed political thriller starring real historical persona from Langston Hughes to Richard Nixon and two wonderful lead protagonists. The story line is fast-paced, but it is the strong cast (real and literary) who make this a superb tale as a variety of social issues like de facto racism replacing de jure racism is realistically portrayed. Fans will appreciate Stephen L. Carter's strong conspiracy historical thriller and seek his two excellent previous works (see NEW ENGLAND WHITE and THE EMPEROR OF OCEAN PARK).

Harriet Klausner