By N. Lombardi, Jr.
Genre: Legal Thriller
Justice Gone, a mystery/legal thriller, touches upon many topical, controversial issues in today’s society as well as being a thrilling and engaging read. The story encapsulates current social issues: police brutality, homelessness, the plight of returning war veterans, the frenzy of the press, and the mechanics of the US judicial system.
“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?”
Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr. Tessa Thorpe.
Justice Gone is an interesting legal thriller set in the New York Metropolitan region reflecting many of the modern-day issues we see on the news such as: police brutality, homelessness, and veteran’s welfare…particularly in regards to PTSD.
For the readers who follow my reviews and who are a bit squeamish about language and violence, fair warning. This story opens brutally and is full of foul language and violently graphic description so it may not be for you. Having said that, I personally feel that the language and the description used during the violent acts that take place is perfectly appropriate for the subject matter as well as the characters and their personalities.
The story opens when a bar owner sees a homeless man wandering the street by his bar, checking for unlocked car doors and calls 911. Six police officers respond to the call and as a result the homeless man, who turns out to be a highly decorated veteran, is brutally tasered and beaten to death; igniting protests and further discord within the community of the small New Jersey town.
Without going into too much detail about the story itself and giving anything away I want to point out that straight from the beginning what happens in Justice Gone could be taken from the headlines of our own nightly newscasts. This may be a psychological thriller, but it is also a statement about the societal tensions running through many of our communities today.
In so many ways this story reminds me of an episode of “Law & Order”. It’s simply the format Mr. Lombardi seems to have followed. The reader is presented with the story in segments from a third party perspective that lay out what happened, what it looks like, what it really is, and the conclusion, so that the reader views how the wheels of justice turn behind the scenes.
In some ways it seems that this approach really helped the story flow for me, particularly during the second half of the story. But, I will admit the first half of the story was at times a bit difficult for me to get through as back story was laid down. There were definitely some parts that could have been streamlined, particularly the scenes with meetings (there were several of those). Meetings are boring enough to endure in real life, they are even more so when having to read about them, even though at times yes, it’s necessary to include them in a story.
This brings me to Mr. Lombardi’s writing perspective for this story. The omniscient approach to the story-telling made it difficult for me to really connect with the characters and I’m a reader who really wants to do that. I would really have loved to be able to put myself in Tessa’s shoes rather than feel like I was watching the action take place. This is another reason I compared this story to “Law & Order” and coupled with the first half being a bit difficult to get through is why I rate this story at 4-stars rather than the full 5.
Still, I liked the characters. I enjoyed the plot. I really appreciated the effort the author put into describing what was going on rather than telling me. And, over all the story had a good flow to it
Would I recommend it? Absolutely I would. It’s a great commentary on current issues by Mr. Lombardi. There’s plenty of action and suspense and even a bit of a twist you might not see coming.
Pick it up, give it a read and let me know what you think of it as well. I think you’ll enjoy it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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. http://plainofjars.net
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
To learn more about this author visit the following pages: