The ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law have announced the finalists for the fifth annual Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. The books picked as this year’s finalists are My Sister’s Grave, by Robert Dugoni; Terminal City, by Linda Fairstein; and The Secret of Magic, by Deborah Johnson. The prize, which is co-sponsored by the two groups and authorized by Harper Lee, has been awarded each year since To Kill a Mockingbird’s 50th anniversary to the novel that best illuminates the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.
The panelists who will vote to select a winner from the group of finalists are Roy Blount Jr., author and humorist; Wayne Flynt, author and Alabama historian; Mary McDonagh Murphy, independent film and television writer and producer; and Michele Norris, NPR host and special correspondent. The public is invited to cast their own votes on the book they think most deserves the prize; the public vote will act as a fifth judge. Voting closes on Friday, June 5 at 11:59 p.m.
The 2015 prize will be awarded Sept. 3 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the Library of Congress National Book Festival. The winner will be announced prior to the ceremony and will receive a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird signed by Harper Lee. Previous winners include John Grisham, for The Confession (2011) and Sycamore Row (2014); Michael Connelly for The Fifth Witness (2012); and Paul Goldstein for Havana Requiem (2013).
You can vote here.
My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni
Tracy Crosswhite has spent 20 years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House—a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder—is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers. When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past—and open the door to deadly danger.
Terminal City by Linda Fairstein
From the world’s largest Tiffany clock decorating the 42nd Street entrance to its spectacular main concourse, Grand Central has been a symbol of beauty and innovation in New York City for more than 100 years. But “the world’s loveliest station” is hiding more than just an underground train system. When the body of a young woman is found in the tower suite of the Waldorf Astoria—one of the most prestigious hotels in Manhattan—assistant DA Alex Cooper and detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace find themselves hunting for an elusive killer whose only signature is carving a carefully drawn symbol into his victims’ bodies, a symbol that bears a striking resemblance to train tracks.
The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson
Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country. As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun’s The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest. Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past.