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Time Hails Roosevelt As a First Novelist to Watch, Comparing His Work to Bestselling Author Scott Turow
By Andy Greenberg
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Roosevelt (the great-great-grandson of the first of the two presidential Roosevelts) has long been a novelist in lawyer’s clothing, in spite of a resume that includes a Supreme Court clerkship and a J.D. from Yale Law. He’s been writing novel-length fiction since he was an undergraduate at Harvard, though he’s struggled until now to find a publisher.

“Initially I wanted to write in the legal genre because I thought I’d have a better chance of getting published,” he admits. “But when I started going through the revisions after I began teaching, I realized this was an opportunity to say a lot of things I wasn’t able to say in my teaching and my scholarship about the nature of the legal system, the different roles that people have in it and different choices that they make.”

In the Shadow of the Law, whose ensemble cast deals with cases ranging from a pro bono death penalty case to a fatal industrial accident, has garnered praise for its thought-provoking examination of real contemporary issues in the law, digging far deeper than the beach novels that usually populate the legal fiction genre. “I set out more or less to write a basic legal thriller,” Roosevelt says, in his characteristically self-effacing style. “But I found it hard to stick to the plot, because there were all these other interesting issues that came up.”
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