Published by Roundfire Books on February 22, 2019
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When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down. A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran's counselor, is caught up in the chase. Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa's patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers get there first, leading to Darfield's dramatic capture. Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge? Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr Tessa Thorpe, wrapped in the divisive issues of modern American society including police brutality and disenfranchised returning war veterans. N Lombardi Jr. is the author of compelling and heartfelt novel The Plain of Jars.
✮ My Review ✮
Before I start my review I have to make an apology to Nick! He contacted me last year asking if I wanted to read his book and I snapped up the chance. One thing led to another and I overdid it with tours, got ill, excuses excuses. So when I saw the email from Emma that she was doing a tour for this book again I knew it would discipline me into reading this book. My apology is WHY THE HELL DID I WAIT SO FRICKING LONG!!!!
I have been keeping an eye on this book and the awards it been winning and I have honestly been dying to read this, so when I cracked open the first page I was not sure where on my adventure I would go. Harrowing and heartbreaking opening pages is what I found. A veteran brutally murdered by the police, the same police who have sworn to protect us from this type of brutality. I was shocked and appalled by what I was reading and just reading the account of Jay Felson and his last words I found my breath hitch and my heart skip a beat, harrowing.
Meeting Tessa and Casey, two of the people that run New Hope Clinic, a safe place for Vets to come and work on dealing with their PTSD among other things, have their lives thrown into turmoil because not only have they lost one of their own by this unprovoked attack. But another one of their own is missing and becomes the key suspect when 3 of the 6 policemen who mercilessly murdered Felson are shot down. Donny Darfield, Jay’s closest friend and comrade is under the spotlight and hot for the murders in the eyes of the police, I mean he has motive doesn’t he!
I spent the evening reading this book and I really didn’t want it to end. I enjoyed Lombardi Jr writing, even though Tessa got on my nerves at times. Justice Gone feels raw and authentic with a shocking and climactic ending which I did not foresee!
Nathan Bodine, the blind lawyer, impressed me a lot, he knew his stuff and he knew how to play the prosecution right into the palm of his hand. Tripping up key witnesses and being a showman in the courtroom, with his daughter, Emily, to rein him, his yang to her yin. Watching them boss the courtroom, reading the vivid descriptions you could picture yourself there as one of the jurors, I honestly felt like I was there in the thick of the action.
Everyone had a role to play, whether it was answering the phone, driving a taxi, providing lunch, they all played a part. Some highlighting the injustice of this case, of the Grand Jury at the beginning. Whilst others emphasised the right vs wrong and the injustice of the DA. Not everything is as black or white as you might initially think, there is definitely a lot of patchy grey spots. This brings in a lot of debates and it was fascinating watching the jurors deliberated on their verdict and how the voting would sway. I would have loved more on this in the book!
One thing I did really enjoy about Justice Gone is that this book follows the court case only, Bodine is there to defend Donny, he doesn’t care if he did commit the murders or not, his job is to defend him. We didn’t follow the police to discover who did murder the policemen if it was not Donny, or hunt down new evidence. We stayed in that courtroom and we focused on Donny and I fricking loved that. I adore courtroom drama books and I really don’t read enough of them! When I was younger I devoured them, these days I seem to go darker and more police procedural.
Justice Gone is a book I needed to read and I have read it such a good time in my life where I have had a lot of focus on being a military wife and so I found it so much more poignant for me. This book is definitely going into being a contender for my book of the year without a shadow of a doubt. I lost myself to the plight of Donny, the support of Tessa and the showmanship of Nat. I hope this is not the last time I see Tessa!
Until next time xxx
Thanks to Emma at Damppebbles for the tour invite and the author for a copy of the book in return for my honest and unbiased review
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: