Reviewed: “Higher Authority” by Stephen White

One of the benefits of my self-imposed “no e-reader” rule is that I can sort through books of old, used books and discover exciting things in the yellowed pages of well-loved books. That’s just what I did when my mother decided to cut back on her collection of books she hasn’t read recently. Happily for me, I walked away with three boxes full of books to explore.

The first one I tackled was the 1994 Higher Authority by Stephen White.

Probably not the best book to read when there’s a 50/50 chance that a Morman man will be elected President of the United States this fall, the story is part of series featuring the character Alan Gregory, although he hardly features in this story. In this book, his fiancee is helping her sister sue the clerk to a Supreme Court Justice, who happens to be Mormon, for sexual harrassment. That’s bad enough, but it’s worse because the clerk is a woman.

Unfortunately for the story, considering they were what drew me to the story, both the sister and the clerk are all but non-existent to the story after the first twenty-five pages.

Gregory’s fiancee, her lawyer friend, and a small cast of supporting characters aren’t quite strong enough to have the pull of the originals. I spent a lot of time reading to get away from their side stories and back to the story at hand – the strict, and yet varying, degrees of control that the Mormon Church has over it’s people.

I read it all, though, because in addition to being a very good fictional suspense thriller, even with slightly weak characters, it was also a fascinating lesson in Mormonism and I think that’s important given the world we live in today.

Will I read it again? Maybe. But not until I accidentally rediscover it tucked on a shelf or in a box somewhere, I don’t think.

Three stars out of five from me.

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