cover image Allegiance


Kermit Roosevelt. Regan Arts, $27.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-941393-30-7

This sophisticated, multi-textured novel from Roosevelt (In the Shadow of the Law) works both as a thriller to rival the best of Stephen Carter and as an insightful look at one of America's darkest historical moments. After the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, law student Caswell "Cash" Harrison attempts to enlist, but his flat feet disqualify him. Fortunately for Cash, Supreme Court justice Hugo Black has an opening for a law clerk. At first, Cash finds it dull to decide which petitions the justices should consider accepting for appeal, but then a colleague suggests that someone is manipulating what ends up on the docket, and Cash is placed under surveillance. Cash also gets involved in the internal court debate on the military's decision to relocate Japanese Americans on the West Coast, a move that swept up citizens who were clearly loyal to the country but was justified on national security grounds. The plot twists are both genuinely surprising and logical, and Roosevelt is subtle in illustrating how the liberty vs. security tensions of the 1940s foreshadow those of the post-9/11 era. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Aug.)