I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.
Published by Roundfire Books on February 22, 2019
Genres: Legal Thriller, Suspense
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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.
I don’t think there has ever been a book that has pushed my buttons within the first fifteen pages. I became so angry and for a moment I was afraid that any review I write would have been of me ranting. While I did calm down, I still found myself thinking back of news stories where police have been involved using excessive force. Even in my own city. Don’t get me wrong, I do respect police officers and I know for the most part they do their best to protect citizens, but you do have a few bad apples who think it gives them a right to be total jack*sses because they carry a gun and wear a badge. Okay, so maybe it’s just a small little rant.
N. Lombardi Jr. has created a story that is virtually ripped from the headlines and so relevant in today’s world. Police respond to a call regarding a homeless man acting suspicious. What follows is truly heartbreaking as these police officers beat and subsequently kill Jay Felson, a homeless man who also happens to be a war veteran. Soon after, these same officers are met with their own brand of justice when a sniper takes them out. Local authorities issue a manhunt in search of a cop killer.
Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a therapist at the The New Hope Trauma Recovery Clinic is deep in the middle of it all as Jay Felson along with his friend, Donald Darfield were both of her clients and with Donald nowhere to be found, things start to not look good for him. When Donald is finally captured what ensues is a battle in the court for his freedom. Is Donald a cop killer or is someone else behind it all?
The characters in this story are so well fleshed out. My favorite character by far is Dr. Tessa Thorpe. She cares for her clients and stands up for them when many others may not. She is caring and genuinely wants to help. Is Tessa flawed? Yes and No. She does have an issue in her past regarding law enforcement and in a way it also makes her more sympathetic towards others, but on the other hand she can sometimes get too involved. Another character I really connected with is Nathaniel Bodine, the defense attorney for Donald. Nathaniel is blind and I can’t help but feel he is a symbol for the phrase “Justice is blind.” Even though Nathaniel is disabled, he is a force to be reckoned with and he is a beast in the courtroom.
One thing I would like to mention and am also grateful for is the author, Lombardi, never injects his own political beliefs into this story. I often times find that some authors always take a jab at the politics of today and inject their own narrative and for some readers that may work, but I tend to get really annoyed as an author truly doesn’t know what a reader is going to think or even agree with. Lombardi takes a hard look at ALL angles and leaves it up to the reader to make a choice on their own. For this I really applaud N. Lombardi Jr.
Part legal thriller and part mystery/suspense, Justice Gone will draw you right into this harrowing and heartbreaking story. I could NOT put this book down at all and found myself really relating with the story. Justice Gone is loosely based on a true story and Lombardi makes reference to this in the beginning and I felt it really made this story more personal for me and more real. This story deserves no less than 5 stars and I could not find fault with anything written between the pages. Absolutely brilliant!