May 19, 1997 12:00 PM

by Brad Meltzer

Page-Turner of the Week

WITH A SINGLE CARELESS CONVERSATION, Supreme Court clerk Ben Addison may have torpedoed a lifetime of striving. The recent Yale Law grad gets that sinking feeling when a media mogul awaiting a merger ruling starts investing millions as if he already knows the High Court’s verdict, a verdict that Ben has just shared with someone he thought he could trust. Soon the press is speculating about the existence of a mole, Ben is being pressed to take a lie detector test, and the person in whom he confided is trying to blackmail him into further disclosures.

First-time novelist Meltzer, himself a 1996 Columbia Law graduate, shows a veteran’s panache with plot and pacing. Even if his cunning occasionally outstrips his characterizations, Meltzer has earned the right to belly up to the bar in the company of John Grisham, Scott Turow and David Baldacci, and join the growing ranks of attorneys making their cases on the bestseller list. (Rob Weisbach Books, $23)

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