Twelve years ago Paul (Pike) Seeger joined Seger & Strauss. He’s handled a bunch of high-profile pro bono cases and was twice elected President of the National Bar Association. Pike taught Constitutional Law and Trial Practice at both USC and UCLA law. He’s filed some big-time lawsuits, made national headlines during the seventies as a litigator, and won class-action consumer and environmental cases on behalf of the California Environmental and Consumer Protection Agency (CEPAC).
Then Pike got the call from his old Stanford law school buddy and ex-coworker, now the United States’ Attorney General, that the President has short-listed Pike as a Supreme Court nominee.
After hanging up that call, with a directive to Pike to ensure there are no skeletons in his closet before the nomination goes public, Pike’s phone rings again. This caller advises Pike to “decline the nomination. You must consider the content of file CR-44-139, Southern District of California.”
U.S. v. Anonymous.
Gaviota, A Novel takes us on adventures from Gaviota to one hundred miles south, within the basement archives of the City of Los Angeles’ District Court’s old federal courthouse. From the file of U.S. v. Anonymous, Pike’s legal secretary, Gladys, translates the old court reporter’s shorthand from Swedish to English.
Erik O’Dowd provides us juicy cityscapes, “A misting rain covered Los Angeles under a low cushion of clouds. The air was alive with the city’s wet light, slickening its structures. I hunkered against the mist, walked along mirrored streets to the near-empty parking garage beneath my building. I was alone in a city of millions. I drove west, carried along a glistening artery, even more alone in the dark-lit compartment of my car.”
And sweet coastscapes, “The wide porch, where Mom spent most daylight hours, faced sunward, south- and westward toward the Pacific. Beneath it spread the orchard – lemons and walnuts; and below it a tier of oak-lined fields, through which meandered arroyos carrying rain from the Santa Ynez Mountains to the ocean. The creeks had formed sloughs and cut gaps in the shale cliffs that marked the westward course of the Gaviota coast.”
That’s it. No more teasers. Gaviota is a novel and a mystery, a thriller, but basically, a super good read. Keywords are: WWII, concrete, road contracts, Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, Gaviota, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, steelhead fishing in the Santa Ynez mountains, family, success, loss, and righting wrongs.
You will be the jury of Gaviota and can only make a decision based on the facts found.
Erik O’Dowd’s website.
More about Gaviota coast.