By Steve Martini
Harper, $9.99, 501 pages

In this novel, “the rule of nine” of the title refers to the U.S. Supreme Court –nine justices with enormous power. The story begins with the murder of a low-level staffer at the Court by an assassin known as Liquida Muerte. Muerte is associated with a terrorist known as Thorn. Thorn, who is working with Saudi terrorists on a mission involving bombs and planes, is so crazy he scares the terrorists. Lawyer Paul Madriani, his partner Harry and investigator Herman are drawn into this web as they try to figure out why Madriani’s card was at the crime scene. Madriani and team are joined in their quest by weapons control expert Jocelyn Cole, who has her own history with Thorn.

This novel kept me engrossed, looking for clues about Thorn, Liquida, what they are up to, and who hired them. There were no real inconsistencies or out-of-character behavior sometimes apparent in the genre. The only complaint I have is that a writer who can invent names like Liquida Muerte should be able to differentiate other names more than Harry and Herman and Thorn and Thorpe. I had to sometimes go back through the novel to remind myself of who was who. Overall, however, this is an enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Stacia Levy

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