In Egan's promising debut, the death of Manhattan judge Alvin Canter on New Year's Eve in his chambers presents a serious problem to his law clerk, Tom Carroway, and his secretary, Carol Scilingo. When a judge dies, the members of his staff keep their jobs until the end of the year, so the two are suddenly faced with unemployment at the end of the day unless they can make it appear as if the judge died after midnight. Carol is a single parent and the only support for her son, Nick, and her mother, Rose, while Tom is heavily in debt to some unsavory people and his "collection agent" is not the patient sort. Tom comes up with a plan to keep the judge from being discovered until the new year, but complications arise. Some late action twists and reversals ensure that nothing turns out as expected. Egan deftly parlays a simple administrative rule and the desperation of regular people into a thrilling read. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
2013-05-20, Publishers Weekly