Judith D Collins
By: Lee Goodman
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication Date: 9/15/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars
From the author of the “stellar” (Publishers Weekly) Indefensible comes a thrillingly taut legal mystery and courtroom drama that inhabits the blurry boundary between guilt and innocence when murder sends one family’s life into a tailspin.
Someone close to Nick Davis is murdered. Investigators see it as either a case of mistaken identity or the work of a jealous fiancé. As a federal prosecutor, Nick tries shepherding the case to a swift conclusion, but it keeps slipping away.
Meanwhile, Nick’s relationship with his wife, Tina, hangs by the thinnest of threads. She is also a lawyer, working to vindicate a young man convicted of killing a child eight years previously. When old DNA evidence is uncovered in the murder case, its analysis hurls Nick’s universe into upheaval—his most basic assumptions about his life, the law, and the people he loves most are thrown into question.
“Compelling” with “language that sings,” Lee Goodman’s latest novel is a truly “outstanding” page-turner (William Kent Krueger, New York Timesbestselling author).
A special thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
If you enjoy your legal thrillers served with all the sides, and trimmings—Lee Goodman’s INJUSTICE is assured to leave you deliciously satisfied. With non-stop twists and turns, keeping you guessing from page one to the end--- guilty or innocent? Did or did not? Are you sure? Do not get too comfortable with your verdict; the jury is still out--- evidence may change, only a few pages or chapters away.
A multi-layered, complex and sizzling taut mystery--- with more obstacles, and courtroom drama than OJ; leaving your head spinning. When nothing is as it appears.
From a troubled marriage, a murder, revenge, a disfigured friend, a conspiracy, bribery, mistaken identity, betrayal, abuse from the past, and an eight- year- old case, possible DNA tampering, ongoing crimes, family drama, and a man who wants nothing more than to keep in his family intact and safe—all the while he finds himself in the middle of three cases which collide, for an explosive ending.
As the book opens, July 3 - life is sweet, or so thinks Nick Davis. He had a simplistic confidence in his identity as a vigilant father, a loving and beloved husband, and a shrewd federal prosecutor. All is well- children, spouse, extended family, and career.
However, all will change only one day later. July 4 at Rokeby Park, when he finds life sucks in all categories. Everything begins to fall apart. Imploding, is more like it—continuing, to the very last page—leaving you anxiously awaiting the next. OMG!
We jump months later, at a cabin on the lake, where Nick recounts his story. A trial will be starting soon and things get tangled. A prosecutor for thirty years, Nicks was playing mentor to his associate, Henry. Henry is disfigured, a burn victim, from a tragic event as a child. They are working on a case and he is engaged to his wife’s sister, Lydia.
Nick’s wife, Tina is also a lawyer, with the Innocence Project –she is re-opening an eight-year-old case regarding a murder of a child, seeking to exonerate a man, Daryl Devaney in prison, on behalf of his sister. He confessed; however, was there really any proof and was he really of sound mind?
In between his big case, the murder of their family member, the ongoing investigation, new evidence surfacing, Arthur Cunningham, and his wife’s pending case-he is now involved in; plus another guy, Smeltzer his wife helped put away years ago, is out of prison and swore he would get revenge.
There is also the investigation of legislators for taking bribes from Subsurface, the fixer, the EPA break in, Dunbar, (grand jury investigation); Kyle and Nathan, two other boys; and complications with Detectives; overzealous Philbin who has an ax to grind, and partner Rachel Sabin, sexy and smart, who has eyes for Nick, or is she playing him?
Nick's personal life becomes involved in the series of plot twists with extended family, his ex-wife, Flora and husband Chip. Chip and Upton, FBI agents. Lizzy, Nick’s grown daughter and boyfriend Ethan. (Flora/Nick’s daughter). Lizzy becomes involved, helping Nick, with the research, for the case, and becomes entangled in a dangerous game. Then Craig, Tina’s ex-husband shows up. His wife, his son, and Henry are hiding out in a remote cabin, until things are resolved. What could possibly happen next? Trust me, plenty. . .
In addition, Nick’s marriage is strained, and his wife needs time apart. They have a four- year- old son, Barn, and a dog ZZ. Nick spends his time at an extended stay hotel, Friendly City, at the park, his favorite restaurant, or sleeping in the car parked in front of his home, while protecting those he loves. Or, in court—trying to fight the bad guys, while attempting to balance work and personal life. His wife, has not returned from the land of shock and sorrow. Nothing or no one is safe from harm.
“There are all these new realities to accommodate, and every-present dangers to guard against. Bygones, are not always bygones. If Nick has learned anything, it is that evil can come at you from any direction at any time. He will guard his life, and further trauma while trying to rebuild his life with Tina. “
Wow, this is one intense twisted legal suspense-crime/mystery thriller—just when you think one part is wrapping up, it takes a complete turn. This continues even as we approach the last few pages, introducing yet another shocker.
Poor Nick has a vision of a happy life with the perfect family. All Nick really wants to do is move to a small rural city, practice law with his attorney wife, and enjoy the great outdoors- a simple life in a cabin at the lake, with their son and grown daughter. The man has no passion with his wife, even though they have their legal similarities. Unfortunately, his wife, Tina is not on the same page.
Justice or injustice . . . You be the judge.
After reading this compelling thriller—I was rushing to find Goodman’s previous novel, INDEFENSIBLE; cannot wait to read!
What I would love to see in upcoming novels: a back story of Henry (there has to be an intriguing story here); more personal stuff about Tina (seems there is a lot of hidden pent up emotion here – I kept suspecting her the entire book), more of tenacious Lizzy/Ethan, in a new case; and last but not least, possibly a juicy affair between Nick/Rachel. Of course, dying for more from Nick - the ending lends itself to a continuation of the ongoing saga.
With Atria's impressive line up of crime and legal thriller authors, would not expect anything less than a 5 star delivery. OUTSTANDING! Goodman has been added to my favorite author list-- legal fans will be glued to this page-turner.
I enjoyed the blurb about The Innocence Project. Fans of this subject will enjoy Marti Green’s Help Innocent Prisoners Project, (HIPP) series.
About the Author
The best thing about being a writer is that all one's mistakes in life can be called research.
I grew up near Boston and on Cape Cod, then my family moved to rural Vermont when I was in high school. I was a science major in college, after which I settled in Alaska and lived with a bunch of sled dogs off-the-grid near Fairbanks. I travelled a bit, worked for the state briefly on a Bering Sea crabber, then got involved in fisheries policy. After going back to school for a law degree in New Hampshire I spent a summer with the U.N. in Nairobi. Back in Alaska I worked in child welfare for a Native organization and taught criminal justice. I studied fiction writing at Boston University and got my MFA from Bennington College. I spent a semester as "writer in residence" at the Interlochen Academy for the Arts.
I didn't realize it along the way, but it was all research. Now I'm off the grid again, living in the hills outside of Anchorage, commercial salmon fishing in the summer and writing the rest of the year. I have two great kids, a dog, and a small law practice helping injured workers get compensation.
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