Higher Authority (1994)
"Sinister and scary." - New York Times
Stephen White sets his third and most richly achieved novel against a uniquely American landscape, that created by the
Mormon followers of Joseph Smith in a place now known as Utah, which Brigham Young called Deseret.
The sudden death of Utah's Senator Orrin Hatch propels his successor, Lester Horner,
first into Hatch's Senate seat and then on to become the first Mormon associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Carried along with Horner is Blythe Oaks, an ambitious and intelligent woman who is also
Horner's favorite law clerk and fellow Mormon. But Blythe's reputation—and, by extension, Lester Horner's—is threatened when a female former employee accuses her of sexual harassment and career
In Higher Authority White shifts his focus from Dr. Alan Gregory, the hero of Privileged Information and the national bestseller Private Practices, to
Alan's fiancée, Lauren Crowder. The pool-shooting deputy D.A.'s life is already complicated enough as she picks her way through her relationship with Alan at the same time she is fighting her quiet and
dignified battle with multiple sclerosis. But since Blythe's accuser happens to be Lauren's kid sister, aspiring stand-up comic Teresa Crowder, Lauren plunges into the case. And she gets immediate help
from an old law school buddy, Robin Torr, whose practice is in Salt Lake City.
When, suddenly, Blythe Oaks is savagely murdered in Washington D.C., the lengths to which someone will go to
protect secrets that might prove embarrassing to higher authorities in the church are starkly revealed. And as Crowder and Torr probe more and more deeply into these secrets, with timely help from Alan Gregory
and his old friend Detective Sam Purdy of the Boulder, Colorado police, White's tough but determined women find the body count growing and themselves placed in jeopardy by a remorseless killer.