More About The Recusal Series

I had just finished writing a book on a completely different topic when I began reading a law review article written by a friend of mine. It was entitled, Of Dog Food and Judicial Ethics. The article was centered on a Supreme Court Justice, when he was a Circuit Court Judge, refused to recuse himself from a case that had more than tangential association with the financial interests of a longtime political mentor and benefactor of the Justice. I found the topic fascinating. Though there are written judicial guidelines that prescribe when a judge should consider voluntary removal of their participation from a court case, there was clearly no strict enforceable mandate for doing so. That article inspired me to write a fictional account of a judge that had a history of not recusing himself from matters in which he had some involvement with a party or issue at the heart of a lawsuit brought before his court.  A Presidential appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States, had occurred not long before I began researching and writing a synopsis of the novel. I decided to add the dimension of a Supreme Court nomination of a judicial nominee, by a newly elected President, who had a history of foregoing recusing himself from cases in his past. 

I have a long standing love and admiration for the city of New Orleans. No other major city in the United States has the unique balance of being a cosmopolitan city rooted in Southern traditions, with profound European influence in architecture and attitude, and a commitment to being known for its carefree, fun-loving mantra, “let the good times roll.” Well over a dozen trips over the years to the “Big Easy” left me wanting to incorporate the city, its people, its architecture, and its attitude into my new novel. So, I melded the city of New Orleans into the story-telling of a respected jurist with a questionable past regarding judicial ethics, who surprisingly, is nominated to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court by a newly elected President who the judge has never met. 

Recusal was written as a singular work. However, immediately after finishing the novel, I continued to think about the characters and the world that I created in their storylines. I soon came to the conclusion that their stories were not complete.  Each character had more to say. Instead of just allowing the characters to occupy space in my mind, I began putting ideas to paper and eventually expanded their world into a four book series. The focus on the cities of New Orleans and Washington, D.C. became even more pronounced as the story continued. I enjoyed exploring the dichotomy between Washington, the center of American democracy, a serious place where ambition, competition, and the pursuit of political power reign supreme. And New Orleans, where hospitality, live music, good food, fun-loving pursuits, and old world charm create an atmosphere that fostered the sobriquet, “The City That Care Forgot.” Both cities have their own special allure but for very different reasons.   Several of the characters in the series, occupy both worlds in their own ways. Their goals, dreams, and pursuits are both governed by and influenced by their residence in either city. Political suspense, mystery, unbridled ambition, religious fervor, and questions of loyalty are at the heart of the novels. But so too, are the diverse character studies and swirling plot lines that hold court in The Recusal Series.