by N. Lombardi Jr.
GENRE: Thriller (legal)
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 gets 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?
In memory of Kelly Thomas, who was beaten to death by members of the Fullerton Police Department on July 5, 2011.
“Mr. Bodine, I’m Hamilton Fiske, deputy district attorney. I’ll be prosecuting this case.”
“Didn’t we meet last year at the meeting of the New Jersey Bar Association?” Bodine asked, as his daughter collected their papers and put them in their briefcase.
“Yes, I believe we did.”
“Thought so. I never forget a voice.”
That comment threw Fiske off-center for a moment. “I just wanted to, well, shake hands so to speak, before we come out fighting.”
“Is your hand out there in the air, waiting for mine? Cause if it is, you can put it back wherever you had it. I don’t shake hands these days. And while you’re at it, you can remove that smug smile off your face. I don’t have to see it, I can tell by your tone. You’ve already pissed me off, and this is just the arraignment. So I’m not exactly in a gentlemanly mood. And if you try to set up my client by having him mingle with the others, there’ll be hell to pay. Getting my drift, son?”
Fighting words for sure, but the word that provoked Fiske the most was the condescending “son,” just as Bodine had figured it would. “Is that a threat, Mr. Bodine?”
Emily tugged at her father’s arm with the covert message that he quit this repartee. He turned to leave, but not before saying, “No, Mr. Fiske, just a consequence.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).
In 1997, while visiting Lao People's Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.
Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc.
His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.
His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.
Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Visit his Goodreads page:
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3.75 out of 5 stars
Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr. details the sequence of events in a small town after policemen beat a homeless man to death. The search for justice and the maneuverings of those in positions of power is depicted, along with the far-reaching repercussions that ensue.
This book is categorized as a legal thriller and contains a sometimes brief spotlight on a number of very sensitive subjects that are prominent in current headlines—homelessness, police brutality, cover-ups, PTSD and other problems that returning vets are dealing with, and political maneuverings, to name a few. Those who are squeamish should be advised that the book opens with a heartwrenching and violent act that sets the stage for subsequent events, which are sometimes also very harsh and brutal.
I was struck by the portrayal of events as they are colored by individuals’ perspective and biases, and later astounded to see how people can reach such different conclusions when presented with the same material.
The author uses a third person omniscient point of view for most of the book, which allows the reader to get inside different characters’ minds but this also tended to distance one from them as well and got a little frustrating and prevented me from getting to know or connecting with any particular person. I enjoyed the twists that the story takes and felt that the antics of the elder Bodine almost stole the show at times. Although I appreciated Tessa’s stated passion for her patients and her determination to see things through to the end, I was also disappointed in her passivity and wanted her to have a stronger role in the story.
This is a thought-provoking story that gives a look at the wheels of justice and shines a spotlight on what goes on behind the scenes as well as in front of the cameras. Those who enjoy mysteries and legal thrillers might want to get caught up in this tale.
A copy was provided for review