The sudden death of Utah's Senator Orrin Hatch propels his successor, Lester Horner, first into Hatch's Senate seat and then on to become the first Mormon associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Carried along with Horner is Blythe Oaks, an ambitious and intelligent woman who is also Horner's favorite law clerk and fellow Mormon. But Blythe's reputation - and, by extension, Lester Horner's - is threatened when a female former employee accuses her of sexual harassment and career sabotage.
In Higher Authority White shifts his focus from Dr. Alan Gregory, the hero of Privileged Information and the national best seller Private Practices, to Alan's fiancée, Lauren Crowder. The pool-shooting deputy D.A.'s life is already complicated enough as she picks her way through her relationship with Alan at the same time she is fighting her quiet and dignified battle with multiple sclerosis. But since Blythe's accuser happens to be Lauren's kid sister, aspiring stand-up comic Teresa Crowder, Lauren plunges into the case. And she gets immediate help from an old law school buddy, Robin Torr, whose practice is in Salt Lake City.
When, suddenly, Blythe Oaks is savagely murdered in Washington, D.C., the lengths to which someone will go to protect secrets that might prove embarrassing to higher authorities in the church are starkly revealed. And as Crowder and Torr probe more and more deeply into these secrets, with timely help from Alan Gregory and his old friend Detective Sam Purdy of the Boulder, Colorado, police, White's tough but determined women find the body count growing and themselves placed in jeopardy by a remorseless killer.
©2013 Stephen White (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
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Alan's wife Lauren has a younger sister Teresa who's working with the Utah women's symposium. She comes to her lawyer sister with a small issue; it seems that the female LDS top assistant to the first LDS Member of the Supreme Court groped her in a woman's bathroom. With Lauren's aid Teresa finds a lawyer and then pretty much disappears for the rest of the book as she chases her new career as a stand-up comic. It seems that she's perfectly willing to continue the case as long as others do all the heavy lifting required.
Those doing that lifting are her lawyer who loses her marriage by taking the case. Her sister Lauren who comes very close to losing her life for pushing the case. Alan and Sam who mainly lose time but are placed in danger several times as they pursue the case. Not to mention the four individuals who lose their lives to a overly religious madman kills to hide facts and events that would be embarrassing to the Mormon church if they came to life.
Speaking of which; if you're at all sympathetic to the religion you might want to avoid this book. Yes it relates a great deal of information about the church, the state of Utah, and the Mormon culture from the sixties up to the nineties. Not a whole lot of it positive though. The book touches on two of the subjects the church is the most intractably conservative about; homosexuality and abortion.
This isn't the best or worst book of the Alan Gregory series. One of the major problems with the series is with the exception of Sam Purdy none of the protagonists in this series in general and this work in particular are at all sympathetic.
Teresa Crowder gets stubborn about continuing the case; then disappears leaving all the work to others and putting in motion a situation in which four people end up dead after she sees the lawyer.
I see Lauren Crowder as the Rocky Mountain version of Susan Silverman.
Alan is a whiny pain in the ass who follows Lauren around like a puppy for no reason that the author has ever made clear. Were it not for the combination of psychology and criminal justice, well conceived criminal plots and some finely drawn minor characters the series would be in the must avoid category. As it is if you don't need to feel a strong alliance with the principle characters in a story; then I can recommend both the book and the series.
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
I stayed with this book to the bitter end; accepting the odd ball story line in which the "ending" didn't match the run-up; and the very poor vocal characterizations of the women (primary characters) by Dick Hill. His interpretation of women's voices is to make them whiney, timid or both whiney and timid at one time. Very annoying. I've listened to him read other books and didn't find it a problem, but in this book, women were the leads, so it got to me.
That said, the book contained a great deal of history about the Church of the Latter Day Saints, and most of that was a bit frightening. The question of the story was whether the powerful Morman church would actually commit murder to avoid anyone uncovering secrets that would stain the church. Somehow I doubt it, but it made for an interesting plot, until it all came unraveled in the ending that the author invented.
I just don't have the love for this one. . . . even though there were some interesting elements to the story.
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