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.
I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.
It’s not often that I cry at the beginning of a book but with all that is going on in our country right now, the beating of the vet really hit home. While I’m not one to believe all claims of police brutality, I do know it happens and this time, although fictional, was definitely such a case.
Tessa is a counselor for veterans, and she can’t help but care for the men she counsels. When a man she’s been counseling is killed by the police, she and his father seek justice, since the city is obviously going to try to sweep this under the rug. And when another man she counsels is arrested for killing cops, she has her work cut out for her.
I like Tessa although I never felt a real connection to her. It’s obvious that she cares about people and wants to do all she can to make things right. Most of the other characters are realistic and unique in their own way.
After the shocking beginning, I felt that it was slow going at times. Other times it was a page-turner. I found the ending a surprise, so it definitely has a good beginning and a good ending.
Justice Gone is a good legal thriller that I definitely recommend if you can handle the beginning with the beating that is described so well.
About the Author
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