book cover of The Final Case
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The Final Case

(2022)
A novel by

 
 
From the award-winning, bestselling author of Snow Falling on Cedars—a moving father-son story that is also a taut courtroom drama and a bold examination of privilege, power, and how to live a meaningful life.

"Ultimately, the mystery at the center of The Final Case is not about innocence or guilt, but about how one family’s profound attachments can stand alongside breathtaking cruelty in another.” —Scott Turow, The New York Times Book Review

A girl dies one late, rainy night a few feet from the back door of her home. The girl, Abeba, was born in Ethiopia. Her adoptive parents, Delvin and Betsy Harvey—conservative, white fundamentalist Christians—are charged with her murder.

Royal, a Seattle criminal attorney in the last days of his long career, takes Betsy Harvey’s case. An octogenarian without a driver’s license, he leans on his son—the novel’s narrator—as he prepares for trial.

So begins
The Final Case, a bracing, astute, and deeply affecting examination of justice and injustice—and familial love. David Guterson’s first courtroom drama since Snow Falling on Cedars, it is his most compelling and heartfelt novel to date.

Genre: General Fiction

Praise for this book

"David Guterson's appropriately nameless main character in The Final Case is a fiction writer at the vortex of a life he can no longer see as linear, heroic, or containable by his old architectures. In this 'final case,' all of history is on trial, and his character finds himself a witness in the still and silent eye of disturbances now cyclonic in force and scope. Guterson is at his best here when capturing the wildly various judgments of our moment. His ranters run the gamut, from fundamentalist conspiracy theorists to socialist decolonialists; he captures with equal accuracy the painful double-bind of being a young white liberal male, and the pathos of mortal decline. At the heart of the story lies the moral complexity of what constitutes salvation. Guterson's characters, powerless to deter, correct, or forgive one another, can only denounce and punish. But his witness, the writer, makes no easy sense of the crimes he encounters, and is capable of only the most tenuous conclusions. Nothing could be more humane, or timely." - Karen Fisher

"I read The Final Case in a single sitting, spellbound by David Guterson's exploration of a tragic death caused by the kind of religious fanaticism that has long plagued our human species. Yet he balances this horrifying perversion of spirituality with the portrait of a lawyer, nearing death, who in the true meaning of heroism, knows that his daily devotion to the rule of law, reason, and civilized values is all that we have - as problematic as these principles can be - to hold back the irrational, ever-present darkness in the human soul. Long after you have finished reading this life-affirming novel, the timeless issues it raises will linger in your mind." - Charles Johnson


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