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An extraordinary fiction debut: a large, stirring novel of suspense that is, at the same time, a work of brilliantly astute social observation. The Emperor of Ocean Park is set in two privileged worlds: the upper crust African American society of the eastern seaboard—old families who summer on Martha’s Vineyard—and the inner circle of an Ivy League law school. It tells the story of a complex family with a single, seductive link to the shadowlands of crime.
The Emperor of the title, Judge Oliver Garland, has just died, suddenly. A brilliant legal mind, conservative and famously controversial, Judge Garland made more enemies than friends. Many years before, he’d earned a judge’s highest prize: a Supreme Court nomination. But in a scene of bitter humiliation, televised across the country, his nomination collapsed in scandal. The humbling defeat became a private agony, one from which he never recovered.
But now the Judge’s death raises even more questions—and it seems to be leading to a second, even more terrible scandal. Could Oliver Garland have been murdered? He has left a strange message for his son Talcott, a professor of law at a great university, entrusting him with “the arrangements”—a mysterious puzzle that only Tal can unlock, and only by unearthing the ambiguities of his father’s past. When another man is found dead, and then another, Talcott—wry, straight-arrow, almost too self-aware to be a man of action—must risk his career, his marriage, and even his life, following the clues his father left him.
Intricate, superbly written, often scathingly funny, The Emperor of Ocean Park is a triumphant work of fiction, packed with character and incident—a brilliantly crafted tapestry of ambition, family secrets, murder, integrity tested, and justice gone terribly wrong.
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A complex, smart mystery filled with intrigue, drama, and more than a little danger awaits 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 U.S. 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, D.C., denizens, including attorneys 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 attorney wife's chance for a judicial nomination--and their fragile marriage--but the closer he comes to unraveling 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, 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 attorneys 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 From the Back Cover:
"The Emperor of Ocean Park is, in a word, a humdinger."
"This first-rate legal thriller, which touches electrically on our sexual, racial and religious anxieties, will be the talk of the political in-crowd this summer."
–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Fascinating. . . . [A] suspenseful tale of ambition, revenge, and the power of familial obligations. . . . An elegantly nuanced novel, with finely drawn characters, a challenging plot, and perfect pacing."
"A novel of great originality and insight: a saga of an African-American family of affluence and privilege forced to reckon with their misadventures and crimes. But Carter's novel also explores, perhaps for the first time in recent memory, a less familiar vision of the black experience in America: one of pride and optimism, and possibility. I've never read a book quite like it, and I enjoyed it very much indeed."
"This sleek, immensely readable first novel is custom-designed for the kind of commercial success enjoyed by John Grisham's The Firm 11 years ago. . . . With great skill, Carter builds toward a series of climaxes that explode over the final 150 pages. Few readers will refrain from racing excitedly through them. A melodrama with brains and heart to match its killer plot. . . . Irresistible."
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Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0375413634 Fresh, Beautiful and Brand new condition!! copyright 2002. Seller Inventory # SKU1050249
Book Description Knopf/Borzoi, U.S.A., 2002. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. 1st Edition. New. First. (First stated and number line starts with 1.) Dust jacket not price-clipped ($26.95) but has wear at top and 1 inch tear on back at top corner. Could still be gifted. A Book of the Month Club Main Selected noted on inside of dust jacket. No marks, writing or bookplate inside. Not a remainder or ex-library. Seller Inventory # 002608
Book Description Knopf, 2002. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0375413634
Book Description Knopf, 2002. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0375413634
Book Description Knopf, New York, U.S.A., 2002. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. First Edition stated, no writing, marks, underlining, or bookplates. No remainder marks. Spine is tight and crisp. Boards are flat and true and the corners are square. Dust jacket is not price-clipped. This collectible, " NEW" condition first edition/first printing copy is protected with a polyester archival dust jacket cover. Beautiful collectible copy. GIFT QUALITY. Seller Inventory # 001636
Book Description Deckle Edge Hardcover. Condition: New. *** Signed by the Author *** Quality Books. Because We Care - Shipped from Canada. Seller Inventory # R00570
Book Description Knopf, 2002. Hard Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. An unread copy signed by the author, Professor Stephen L. Carter -- law professor turned novelist, on the title page. Signed by Author. Seller Inventory # 002603
Book Description Knopf, 2002. Hard Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. An unread copy signed by the author, Professor Stephen L. Carter -- law professor turned novelist, on the title page. Signed by Author. Seller Inventory # 002604
Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0375413634 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0115948
Book Description Westminister, Maryland, U.S.A.: Alfred a Knopf Inc, 2002. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. Signed by Stephen L Carter directly on the title page, NOT signed to anyone. First Edition, first printing.with full number line Hardcover. Book is BRAND NEW and unread. No marks or inscriptions. Not a Book Club Ediiton, Not an Ex-Library. Dust jacket is new, not price clipped, in a removable protective clear cover. This is a beautiful autographed first edition for collectors. Gift quality. Signed by Author(s). Seller Inventory # 000467