Books: Trial and Terror

Legal eagle Stephen Carter pens a sinister tale of a jilted judge

Stephen Carter goes to church regularly. He teaches at an Ivy League law school. He instructs his kids to avert their eyes from inappropriate scenes in music videos--and he actually believes them when they say they do. He would make a perfect Agatha Christie villain: he's the last one you would suspect.

You wouldn't expect him to write a dense, dark legal thriller either, but Carter is the author of The Emperor of Ocean Park, to be published this week with an astronomical first printing of 500,000 copies. Carter is appallingly modest about it all. "I never dreamed the reception would...

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