David Guterson —The Final Case: A Novel

David Guterson presents in person at Third Place Books – Lake Forest Park!


Third Place Books welcomes David Guterson—author of the national bestseller Snow Falling on Cedars—to the stage at Lake Forest Park! Guterson will be discussing his first new novel in over a decade, The Final Case. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required in advance.

What you need to know:

  • Third Place Books requires attendees to provide proof of vaccination for all in-person events this season, or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of the event date.
  • Masks are required for all attendees, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Registration for all in-person events is required in advance through Eventbrite. Third Place Books reserves the right to move any in-person event to Zoom Webinar, our virtual events platform.
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Copies of The Final Case will be available for purchase on site. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!

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About The Final Case. . .

From the award-winning, best-selling author of Snow Falling on Cedars—a moving father-son story that is also a taut courtroom drama and a bold examination of privilege, power, and how to live a meaningful life.

A girl dies one late, rainy night a few feet from the back door of her home. The girl, Abeba, was born in Ethiopia. Her adoptive parents, Delvin and Betsy Harvey—conservative, white fundamentalist Christians—are charged with her murder.

Royal, a Seattle criminal attorney in the last days of his long career, takes Betsy Harvey’s case. An octogenarian without a driver’s license, he leans on his son—the novel’s narrator—as he prepares for trial.

So begins The Final Case, a bracing, astute, and deeply affecting examination of justice and injustice—and familial love. David Guterson’s first courtroom drama since Snow Falling on Cedars, it is his most compelling and heartfelt novel to date.


Praise for The Final Case. . .

“A beautiful, heartfelt novel. Guterson’s tale swirls and loops and soars and digresses, gradually pulling you, like a vortex, closer and closer to eternal truths about death and life, hate and love. Especially love.”
—Daniel James Brown, author of Facing the Mountain

“With empathy as deep as Puget Sound and his usual graceful prose, Guterson does a masterful job of showing a father facing his last big challenge in life and the son whose love of him is much more than filial duty. The Final Case is alive with all the contradictions of our moment, but more than that, it’s alive with wisdom that this novelist has earned.”
—Timothy Egan, author of  The Worst Hard Time

“David Guterson’s appropriately nameless main character in The Final Case is a fiction writer at the vortex of a life he can no longer see as linear, heroic, or containable by his old architectures. In this ‘final case,’ all of history is on trial, and his character finds himself a witness in the still and silent eye of disturbances now cyclonic in force and scope. Guterson is at his best here when capturing the wildly various judgments of our moment. His ranters run the gamut, from fundamentalist conspiracy theorists to socialist decolonialists; he captures with equal accuracy the painful double-bind of being a young white liberal male, and the pathos of mortal decline. At the heart of the story lies the moral complexity of what constitutes salvation. Guterson’s characters, powerless to deter, correct, or forgive one another, can only denounce and punish. But his witness, the writer, makes no easy sense of the crimes he encounters, and is capable of only the most tenuous conclusions. Nothing could be more humane, or timely.
—Karen Fisher, author of A Sudden Country

“I read The Final Case in a single sitting, spellbound by David Guterson’s exploration of a tragic death caused by the kind of religious fanaticism that has long plagued our human species. Yet he balances this horrifying perversion of spirituality with the portrait of a lawyer, nearing death, who in the true meaning of heroism, knows that his daily devotion to the rule of law, reason, and civilized values is all that we have—as problematic as these principles can be—to hold back the irrational, ever-present darkness in the human soul. Long after you have finished reading this life-affirming novel, the timeless issues it raises will linger in your mind.”
Charles Johnson, author of Middle Passage

David Guterson is the author of several novels: the national best seller Snow Falling on CedarsEast of the Mountains; Our Lady of the Forest, a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year; The Other; and Ed King. He is also the author of two story collections, two books of poetry, a memoir, and the work of nonfiction Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, he lives in Washington state. (Photo credit: Tom Collicott)

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For media inquiries, access inquiries, or questions about our Covid-19 policies, please email events@thirdplacebooks.com or call our Lake Forest Park store at (206) 366-3311.