Supreme Justice by Max Allan Collins


Max Allan Collins

Thomas and Mercer

Publication date: July 1, 2014


It’s easy to feel helpless in today’s political system. Sure, you can do your civic duty and vote like a good citizen, but sometimes that doesn’t seem to make a difference. The majority of the other voters may not agree with your position. You may not have millions and millions of dollars to invest in a candidate to sway an election. Most of the time, there are people in the government that affect your life and you didn’t even vote for them.

In a not too distant future, or a future that could have been, ultra-conservative presidents have stacked the Supreme Court with like-minded justices. This Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, pumped up the Patriot Act, and weakened the First Amendment. But what happens if someone decides to stop feeling helpless about the political landscape and change the make up of the Court? What happens if someone steps outside of the law and becomes an agent of political change?

Max Allan Collins’ latest thriller, SUPREME JUSTICE, answers these questions. A conservative Supreme Court justice is killed during what appears to be a restaurant robbery gone wrong; however, the killing may not be what it seems. Former Secret Service agent Joseph Reeder is brought in by a DC Homicide agent to analyze the surveillance tape of the robbery. Using his skills at reading body language, Reeder determines that the Supreme Court justice was murdered in cold blood and was not collateral damage in the robbery as originally thought.

The FBI takes over and sets up a cross-agency task force to determine who assassinated the Justice. Reeder is brought in as a consultant for the task force, but not everyone on the task force welcomes his assistance. Reeder had left the Secret Service after taking a bullet for a president, but Reeder became an outspoken critic of that conservative commander-in-chief after he left the service.

While investigating the assassination of the justice, Reeder and his task force partner, FBI agent Patti Rogers, discover that there is a bigger plan at work to reorganize the Supreme Court. Additional conservative justices are murdered or are threatened. Someone wants to make sure that the current liberal president changes the make up of the court.

Most political thrillers focus on the elected officials that chart the course of our society. It could be politicians on the make with the evil special interest groups or a president that doesn’t have America’s best interests in mind. SUPREME JUSTICE takes the political thriller in a new direction and focuses on the branch of government that gets little attention, the Supreme Court.

Collins and his collaborator, Matthew Clemens, have clearly done their research into the inner workings of Washington, D.C. They successfully captured the tension between the agencies that are supposed to be working together: FBI, Homeland Security, Supreme Court Police, DC Homicide, etc. Each agency wants to have their person on the task force crack the case.

SUPREME JUSTICE explores an America that could-have-been, and could-still-be, and looks into the back room workings of Washington, D.C. We go behind the scenes with the federal agencies to find a killer and find out what happens when someone steps outside of the law to change the political course of America on their own.

Kate Malmon