Author: Aaron Cooley

Publisher: Melnore Press; 1st Paperback Edition (November 3, 2015)



A few years back, I had the pleasure of interviewing author Aaron Cooley when he published Shaken, Not Stirred, a thinly disguised pseudo-autobiography of Ian Fleming. While I gave the book a thumbs up review, nothing about it prepared me for the complex epic to come, the six parts of what is now called Four Seats (The Full Docket Collection.)

Originally published as six separate e-books (Four Seats, Martial Law, Green Brief, Bench Memo, Lone Dissent, Certioro), the lengthy saga opens when a terrorist bombing blows up the Supreme Court, killing four sitting judges. Immediately, we meet a number of characters either hurriedly trying to find those responsible or are focused on orchestrating the nominations of new judges to fill the vacated seats.

There’s current President Antonio Salas, a politician barely able to juggle all the balls thrown at him. Fortunately for him, his predecessor, former President Reginald Irving can move behind the scenes to make happen what his successor wants, especially since Irving’s wife, Rosemarie, is the most able strategist in Washington. She’s the one to pull all the levers and push all the buttons to get Congress to reluctantly confirm the president’s various candidates for the Supreme Court. Rosemarie has to find ways to salvage each of them as they all have enough personal problems to not only derail their own nominations but also destroy at least one presidential legacy.

Layered into this multi-faceted project is the hunt for the bombers, and that’s no quick or easy quest. In particular, law clerk Jason Lancaster witnesses the explosion, comes to fear his girlfriend might be involved, is blamed for the attack himself, and finds himself both an investigator and suspect as the hunt takes on many twists and turns. Was it the Iranians? The Michigan Militia? Surviving members of the Court? Government agencies with their own agendas? A corporate conspiracy? Why is Homeland Security agent George Aug being stonewalled and sidelined by his supervisors?

Of course, trying to present a useful synopsis of a six book political/legal/investigative thriller is a bit like trying to summarize the entire Jack Ryan canon in just a few paragraphs. There are too many surprising revelations to hint at in a short review. Yes, there are a handful of implausible plot twists, but the action is so fast you’d need to really sit back to analyze whether or not such and such could likely happen. Mainly, you’ll be impressed at just how believable the characters and situations are and how they mirror current realities in U.S. politics.

Perhaps the best news is that readers can now immerse themselves in the full opus without waiting for the next sequel to come out. Those who’ve read one or two of the first books can now pick up where they left off, and there’s no way they could have predicted what is coming, especially in Lone Dissent and Certiro. I can’t think of a more engrossing, superlative read offered in 2015. A fine way to end the year.