The Brethren: A Novel
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They call themselves the Brethren: three disgraced former judges doing time in a Florida federal prison. One was sent up for tax evasion. Another, for skimming bingo profits. The third for a career-ending drunken joyride. Meeting daily in the prison law library, taking exercise walks in their boxer shorts, these judges-turned-felons can reminisce about old court cases, dispense a little jailhouse justice, and contemplate where their lives went wrong. Or they can use their time in prison to get very rich—very fast.
And so they sit, sprawled in the prison library, furiously writing letters, fine-tuning a wickedly brilliant extortion scam—while events outside their prison walls begin to erupt. A bizarre presidential election is holding the nation in its grips, and a powerful government figure is pulling some very hidden strings. For the Brethren, the timing couldn’t be better. Because they’ve just found the perfect victim.
We’re talking about a small cut from money that’s already tainted, both here and there. Take it or leave it.” His tone was aloof, an icy veteran who’d cut much larger deals. It was only $19,000, and this from a stash they’d been certain was gone. After his 10 percent, they still had $170,000, roughly $60,000 each, and it would’ve been more if treacherous Trevor hadn’t raked so much off the top. And, besides, they were confident of greener pastures just around the corner. The loot in the Bahamas
of those back in rural Mississippi. The Whiz relaxed, just a little. He could dazzle them for a moment, win this nuisance of a case, then go back to his cave and ignore them. “The ValueNow IPO was handled by the investment banking firm of Bakin-Kline, a small outfit in San Francisco. Five million shares were offered. Bakin-Kline basically presold the stock to its preferred customers and friends, so that most big investment firms never had a shot at the stock. Happens all the time.” The judges
only to the Brethren, which contained eyewitness accounts of seeing Zorro trying to hide while talking on a tiny phone. Zorro’s angry response described the affidavits in language the Brethren had never before encountered. The knockout punch came from nowhere. Mr. T-Bone, in a move that even the slickest lawyer would admire, produced documentation. His phone records had been smuggled in, and he showed the court in black and white that exactly fifty-four calls had been made to numbers in
the edge of Trumble, and sipped it slowly as he puttered back to Jacksonville. He tried his best not to think of their money, but his thoughts were out of control. Between his account and their account, there was just over $250,000 sitting offshore, money he could take anytime he wanted. Add a half a million bucks to it, and, well, he just couldn’t stop adding—$750,000! He’d never get caught stealing dirty money; that was the beauty of it. The victims of the Brethren weren’t complaining now
dollars, but he finally saw him and got his license number.” “Who’s next?” “Probably this guy in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. His alias is Brant White, and he appears to be a hot prospect.” “Do you ever read the letters?” “Never. I don’t know what’s being said back and forth; don’t wanna know. When they’re ready to bust somebody, they’ll tell me to scope out the box and get a real name. That’s if their pen pal is using a front, like your client Mr. Konyers. You’d be amazed how many men use