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Justice Gone

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Justice Gone
By N. Lombardi Jr.

3 stars

An Engaging legal triller.

This easy to read book that follows Dr Tessa Thorpe as she tries to unravel the mystery to a cop killer in a small New Jersey town. 

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.

A warning that the book aims to reveal and highlight injustices in our social community, thus becoming political, while still being written in the fiction genre.

Politics aside, the writing itself could be improved with more editing, to engage the reader.

This title has been reviewed by 

This title was provided by Netgalley and the publisher in return for an open and honest review.

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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.
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Great novel, highly recommend for those who enjoy the genre. Will be recommending for immediate purchase.
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I absolutely love discovering new authors and N. Lombardi Jnr is definitely a new author for me.  Given how much I enjoyed reading 'Justice Gone' I will definitely be reading more of his work in the future.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'Justice Gone' but more about that in a bit.
I couldn't help but take to Doctor Tessa Thorpe from the first moment I met her.  She is a counsellor for military veterans with psychiatric disorders such as PTSD.  She is passionate about her job and I must admit that Tessa is the sort of person I would want as a counsellor- she is smart, funny, supportive, compassionate, kind, thorough, determined, stubborn, thorough but at the same time she can be tough when she needs to be.  She is horrified to realise that one of her clients/ service users has been beaten to death by police officers and the authorities seem determined to sweep the crime under the carpet.  They haven't reckoned on Tessa and her determination.  Shortly afterwards three police officers are gunned down in what appears to be a case of retaliation.  Another of Tessa's clients, Donald Darfield, goes on the run and Tessa tries to find him as soon as possible but time is against them and her client is arrested.  The authorities think that they have the case sewn up and the noose is tightening on Tessa's client, but the authorities haven't reckoned on the determination of Doctor Tessa Thorpe and a blind lawyer called Nathaniel Bodine.  Will they be able to save him from a lethal injection?  Well you are just going to have to read the book for yourselves to find out as I am not going to tell you.
It took me no time at all to get into this story.  From the moment I picked the book up until the moment I finished reading the book, I was hypnotised by this powerful story.  I binge read the book over the course of a day because I just couldn't put the book down.  It wasn't glued to my hand but it might as well have been because it travelled everywhere with me.  The pages turned increasingly quickly as my desperation to find out how the story concluded just grew and grew.  Part of the attraction of the book for me was the fact that the story deals with military veterans and it doesn't shy away from tackling mental health problems and describes them warts and all.  I particularly enjoy books that feature criminal psychologists or therapists.   My addiction to this book meant that I finished the book far quicker than I had intended to or wanted to, which I was disappointed about.  Don't get me wrong I don't mean that in a negative way but I was enjoying the story, the characters and the author's writing style so much that I just wanted the book to continue.
Oh my goodness me, 'Justice Gone' has to be one of my top reads of 2019.  The author certainly knows how to grab your attention from the start and the beginning of the book features an incident so horrific and shocking that it will stay with me for a long, long time to come.  In fact even now a few days after having finished the book, I am still thinking about what happened.  Once the author had my attention then that was it, he wasn't going to let it or me go without my having finished the story.  For me, this book hits the ground running and maintains the pace throughout.  N. Lombardi Jnr writes so realistically and uses such powerful descriptions that I really did feel as though I was part of the story myself.
Reading 'Justice Gone' was much like being on a scary and unpredictable rollercoaster ride with several twists and turns along the way.  Just when you thought that the story had settled down and that you could catch your breath and gather your thoughts then off the action would go again.
In short, 'Justice Gone' is a fantastic book and as I mention above, it has to be one of my favourite reads of 2019.  I cannot wait for the second book in the series featuring Dr. Tessa Thorpe.  Here's hoping that we don't have too long to wait.  I strongly recommend that you read 'Justice Gone'.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very, very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
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A thrilling read which kept me turning the pages, characters you care for and just brilliantly written.  Great novel!!
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Justice should be for all, not justice for some. If it’s that way, then it’s justice gone …. justice has gone to hell

Jason Felson is a decorated war veteran of the Iraqi war with a prosthetic foot is beaten to death by four police officers on a hot and humid day in a canal town in New Jersey, for the crime of standing on a street corner. A homeless man who offends people's view of what their town should look like. Three of the officers have had complaints against them of using excessive force. They are put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. Dr Tessa Thorpe, the head of the New Hope Trauma Recovery Centre that runs a centre for posttraumatic stress disorder is deposed to testify at the grand jury inquiry into the incident. She is not surprised to hear when the grand jury announces in a televised press conference that no evidence was found to warrant charges against the accused officers, no to all counts: of second-degree murder, of involuntary manslaughter, not even to the charge of excessive force. This killing destroyed every veterans fragile sense of validation, the affirmation that what he or she went through had meaning and was worthy of honour. To come home through all the risks and horrors, only to be beaten to death after returning to the country that you fought for is an irony that pierces the heart.

War is the most traumatic experience a human being can ever go through, and no-one who has been through war is the same person at the end of it. Countries spend months preparing and training their young men and women for combat but how much time is spent preparing them for the psychological impact that combat is going to have on them and how much time is spent on those who return home from the horrors of war? The ones who return may have visible injuries and scars but what about the scars and injuries that no-one can see – the psychological scars? Everyone has those in some form or another. What job is a veteran qualified for? How can the politicians and bureaucrats expect a veteran to slot back into civilian life as if they have just been out of the country for a time visiting another land and culture? 

I enjoyed the book tremendously, it is very well written, and it really made me think about perceived freedoms and how politicians send their young people into other countries to fight for them. One can clearly see that the author is well travelled and the fact that he speaks the languages of the countries that he has visited attests to his meaningful insight into people, talking to someone in their tongue makes them relate to you in a much more personal way and helps you to see the world through their perspective. As a tourist, you never really experience culture if you do not know the language.

Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
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I enjoyed this book.  Dr. Tessa Thorpe is the protagonist.  Her work as a counselor involves helping a lot of military veterans and one of her clients is mercilessly beaten to death by a group of six cops.  The victim not only had a mental illness, but he also had lost one of his feet in one of the Iraqi conflicts.  There is a very interesting cast of characters - Tessa's coworkers, especially Casey who is a Vietnam veteran, the members of the local police force  who interact with some of Tessa's clients, etc.   The first half of the book is the author setting up the story and it is interesting, but he really hits his stride at the midpoint where a suspected is arrested and a trial set for a suspect in the murders of 3 cops involved in the beating death of the homeless vet.  The second half of this book is gripping!  But only in the last few pages do we get another twist - love endings like this!   I recommend this book if you like suspense that is laced strongly with humane characters and enjoy surprise endings.   – 4 stars  I posted this review on Goodreads and Amazon.  Thank you so much for letting me read it.  I look forward to reading other books by this author.
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I must confess that I didn't have any expectations when we first received this book from John Hunt Publishing. It didn't speak to me, so I just postponed the moment of reading it, over and over again. When I actually started it, I was surprised how easy to read the novel is and that it took me less than a weekend to finish it.

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"Justice Gone" is an easy to read book. Even though it is a thriller, this book is suited for everyone. What I like most about it is how it is structured and how you get to have a second thought about everything related to the story.
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I received a copy of this book to read and review from NetGalley.  Overall, I enjoyed the book. Being a veteran myself, though I entered the Army after readers Vietnam was over, I found the subject more interesting than perhaps many readers.
The story begins with the brutal beating to death of a homeless veteran by overly eager law enforcement. The vet had been routinely going to a clinic for treatment of war related issues related to PTSD, with a doctor, Tessa Thorpe, who becomes very involved in the death and its aftermath.  Another vet at the clinic, Donald Darfield, who served with the dead vet in Viet Nam and who is also going to the clinic for PTSD issues, disappears.  The clinic personnel and Dr. Thorpe search everywhere for Donald, but never find him.  Meanwhile, the death has become a cause celebre, much to the dismay of the local town officials, who unsuccessfully take steps to try to quash national interest in the vet’s death.  Next, the three officers involved in the vet’s death are gunned down, and a new search begins for Donald, as they have fingered him as the murderer. Once captured, there is a trial for Donald, which takes up about a third of the book, as a feisty, sharp-shooter lawyer veteran works to put the pieces together and determine whether his client Donald or someone else is guilty.

There was a lot in this book.  First, there was the brutal killing. Then the search for Donald by the clinic, the vengeance killing of the three cops, the search for and apprehension of Donald, and finally, his trial. It was obvious the author definitely knew and understood how the law/lawyers/judges/courts work. I found that interesting as well as informative. I enjoyed watching Dr. Thorpe, the other staff in the clinic and the vets, work their way through this event. In addition to understanding the law and legal/judicial system, the author understood a lot of what vets who served in combat go through after returning home (or else did a lot of research), since the book provided a great picture of what vets more than often go through once they return to their regular lives. It also pointed out some of the big problems they go through during the adjustment, which really is never-ending. All in all, I think this is a book well-worth reading for anyone who enjoys a good, compelling read.  It definitely is that.
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Wow what a read. Hard to put down . Interesting and thought provoking story. Diverse and complicated characters. Thriller. Intense. Entertaining and good.
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Hot button issues abound as race, homelessness, police brutality, shooting of police are mixed in with counseling and lawyers to give a well-balanced novel in which some readers will find black and white, but others will see so many gray areas. Excellent story with believable characters, actions, and reactions.
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From the first pages of this book I was hooked.  To be fair, the title alone had me hooked but, my, oh my!

Acting on a call from a bar tender who said he witnessed a homeless man trying the doors on parked cars, two police officers approach Jay Fenton, a veteran.  The harassment turns to assault and backup arrives and this decorated war veteran is beaten and kicked to death by six police officers. The description of the beating is graphic and upsetting because from the outset we know that Jay was innocent of any crime; indeed was heroic in his attempts to ignore the harassment and comply with the policemen’s orders.  It goes from bad to worse because then we witness the authorities attempt to deal with this outrage ‘we must make it go away as fast as we can’.  So the case is sent to the Grand Jury but the plan is for it to come back with no verdict.  

Dr Tessa Thorpe is a psychologist who works with the disadvantaged including many veterans who suffer from PTSD and Jay was one of her clients.  Public demonstrations are arranged, police, media and the powers that be are enraged and confrontational.  In the meantime, the police are suspended with pay but for 3 of the policemen it is academic because they are shot and killed but by whom?  It is decided that one of Jay’s friends is responsible for the shootings; after all he is a sniper.

This book encapsulates all that is wrong about the justice system; the part the media has to play and the manipulation of facts by those in positions of power.  More importantly it highlights the plight of the veterans; the lack of care and consideration for their welfare: the ‘just move them along out of sight’ mentality.  Boy does it make me mad.  Boy does it make me despair.

A brilliant book.  Well written, terrific, clear characters that support and lead the plot.  I just loved it.  

Thank you to the author, publishers and NetGalley for providing an ARC via my Kindle in return for an honest review.
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It starts with a phone call. A bar owner sees a homeless man on the street. The police are told that he's been checking doors on cars parked on the street.

Two cops show up and ask for back up. The homeless man is not armed. A total of 6 cops take down, beating and tasering him relentlessly.

The man who is now dead is a war veteran ... highly decorated.

The power that be decide that this case must be addressed and put away. They come up with a plan .... send the case to teh Grand Jury .. but come back with no verdict. The cops will be suspended temporarily with pay.

But then the media ... and the public ... learn there was a recording of the entire incident and the police have it in hand.

There are protests and marches and media questioning the police. The man's' family is going to sue .... where is the justice for this young man who survived war time only to come home to be beaten to death.

And then 3 of the cops are killed .. and a cop killer holes up in a cabin ... just waiting.

Dr. Tessa Thorpe is a veteran's counselor. She was the victim's counselor and she's also the counselor for the cop-killer... and wartime friend of the deceased. Who will get to him first .... angry cops or Tessa and an ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine.

What happens when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?

Dr. Thorpe is a well defined, finely drawn character. She's compassionate and not always as professional as she should be. There is a trauma in her earlier life that she also has to deal with on a daily basis.

This book takes a long, lingering look at the justice system in this country. In recent years, we've all seen the headlines .. the war between cops and the public .... sometimes a racial divide. Shouldn't cops be held to a higher standard? Isn't there a better way to treat the homeless, those with mental illnesses? It's a complex issue of right and wrong and the author takes us from end to the other.

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.

Many thanks to the author / Roundfire Books / Netgalley for the digital copy of this Psychological Drama. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
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I don't know why, but I just couldn't get into this. Maybe it's because I'm not American and it's very much about an American take on issues such as police brutality and the treatment of vets. I know most other people absolutely loved this and I really wanted to as well, but none of the characters were engaging, the story dragged and it all seemed terribly contrived just for the sake of moralising.

Not for me.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
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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!
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Justice Gone is a gripping, seemingly snatched from the headline’s narrative canvassing the harrowing quandary of veterans as well as those climbing through life, plagued with a mental illness. Touching on the very pulse of society’s political vein, Lombardi has penned a suspenseful tale delving into the murder of three men in blue.

Highly recommended to readers who enjoy politically-charged domestic thrillers.
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I am reviewing this book as a member of Rosie’s book review team and thank her, NetGalley, and Roundfire for providing me an ARC copy of this novel, ahead of its publication, that I freely chose to review.
This is not an easy book to categorise, and it could fit into a number of classifications, but it goes beyond the standard examples many of the readers of some of those genres are used to come across. When I heard about this book, my interest was piqued by several elements: the book features as one of its main characters a female therapist who has specialised in counselling war vets (many of them suffering from PTSD), and as a psychiatrist (and I did work with military personnel, although not from the US) I’m always intrigued by the literary portrayals of psychologists and psychiatrists and of mental health difficulties. There is a mystery/thriller element, and because I’m an eager reader (and writer) of those genres, I’m always keen to explore new authors and approaches. The novel also promised a close look at the US judicial system, and having studied criminology and the British Criminal Justice system, that aspect of the book was also intriguing. Could the novel deliver in so many levels?
Dr. Tessa Thorpe is an interesting character, and it seems that the author is planning to develop a series of novels around her. She is described as insightful and compassionate, with strong beliefs (anti-war), morals, and a trauma of her own. She is not the perfect professional, and at times her trauma affects her behaviour to a point that I thought would have got her into trouble if she were working in a different environment. We are not given full details of what has happened to her before, but the hints we get through the novel (where other characters in possession of that information refer to it) give us a fair idea. She is much better at dealing with others and understanding what moves them to act as they do than she is at dealing with her own issues, but that is a fairly realistic aspect of the book (although considering how insistent she is in getting others to talk about their difficulties, it is surprising none of the colleagues take her to task). What I was not totally convinced about was the fact that at some point she decides to support the vet going to trial accused of murder, and she leaves her practice and patients unattended for weeks. As she works in a private clinic and we only meet one of her patients, we don’t have sufficient information of her day-to-day tasks, and it’s quite possible that this is not a problem, but it felt counterintuitive to me. Tessa plays an central part in the plot in more ways than one, because although she is an expert in some aspects, she is totally new to what happens in other parts of the novel, like court procedures, and at those points she works as a stand-in for the readers, asking for clarifications and being walked through the process in detail.
The mystery and thriller elements, as I said, are dealt with differently to in many other books. The novel starts at an earlier point than many of the books that give advice to writers would recommend. It does not start in the middle of the action, or the crime (what the real crime is here is one of the main questions). We get the background to the events, down to the phone call to the police about a homeless man, which gets the ball rolling at the very beginning of the book. The police, who have been fed the wrong information, end up beating the man, a war-vet, to death. This causes a huge uproar, and we hear about the way the authorities try to sweep it all under the carpet, then the apparent revenge killing of the three policemen, the chase of a suspect, the hair-raising moment when he gives himself up (with some help from the doctor and others), and then we move onto the court case. There are moments where the book leans towards the police procedural, and we get plenty of details about the physical evidence, the investigation and those involved, we witness interrogations, we are privileged to information even the police don’t have, we get red herrings, and dead ends. The ending… there is a twist at the end, and although some might suspect it is coming, I was so involved in the court case at that point that I had almost forgotten that we did not know who the guilty party was.
I think this is one of the books I’ve read in recent times that best manages to bring to life a US court case, without sparing too many details and at the same time making it gripping. I will confess that the defense attorney, Nathaniel Bodine, is my favourite character, one of those lawyers who will happily cross the line for their client, and he seems, at times, a much better psychologist (and manipulator) than the doctor is. The judicial process is realistically reflected and at times it reads as if it were a detailed film or TV script, with good directions and fantastic dialogue. 
And, we also follow the deliberations of the jury, in a few chapters that made me think of Twelve Angry Men, a play I remember watching many years back, although in this case we have a more diverse jury (not twelve men and not all Caucasian) and a more complex case. I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the novel as well, and I could clearly see the interaction between the sequestered jury in my mind’s eye. (It would make a great film or series, as I have already suggested). 
The story is told in the third person by an omniscient narrator that at times shows us the events from the point of view of one of the characters, mostly from Tessa’s perspective, but at times from others, like her co-workers or members of the police force. At some points, the story is told from an external and fairly objective perspective (like the jury deliberations); although at times we glimpse the personal opinions of that unknown narrator. I know readers dislike “head-hopping”, but I was never in any doubt about whose point of view I was reading, and the alternating perspective helped get a more rounded view of events and characters. Although the style of writing is factual and to the point (some of the descriptions reminded me of police reports, in their matter-of-factness), that does not mean the book fails to produce an emotional reaction on the reader. Quite the opposite. Rather than emphasising the drama by using over-the-top prose, the author lets the facts and the characters’ actions talk for themselves, and that is much more effective, in my opinion.  
I recommend this book to anybody who enjoys a mystery/thriller/police procedural novel which does not obey by the rules and is keen to engage readers in controversy and debates that go beyond a standard genre novel. (The author explains he was inspired to write this book by an incident not dissimilar to the death of the veteran at the hands of the cops at the beginning of the novel). The novel goes into more detail than most readers keen on those genres will be used to, and also follows the events from the very beginning to the very end. This is not a novel only interested in thrilling readers by highlighting the action scenes and ignoring the rest. Readers who always feel there are aspects of a story missing or underdeveloped will love this book, and also those who like complex characters (plenty of grey areas here) and a story that lives beyond the page. I also see book clubs enjoying a great discussion after reading this book, as there is much to debate and ponder. An accomplished novel and the first of a series that we should keep a close eye on.
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I found this book to be heart breaking. In this day and age homelessness is a big issue, one I feel very strongly about. 

I loved the writing and all the dialogue. I hope the author writes more in this series.
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A very Interesting thriller.
I'm usually a black or white, right or wrong type of person. This book made me realize that sometimes something can be morally wrong but still be legal. 
The tension was perfect, the characters believable, and the dialog well done.
I enjoyed this book even though it is not the type of book I usually review. For those of you who follow me, this is not a clean read and there is cussing in it. So if that disqualifies a book for you, don't pick up this book.
For all the rest of you.....This is a very intriguing thriller. If you like physiological thrillers, you will thoroughly enjoy this book. It is well done and the tension keeps you turning the pages. I suggest you pick up a copy and find out for yourself.
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A powerful, dramatic and emotional page turner that shines a spotlight on issues like police brutality and homelessness, Justice Gone by N Lombardi Jr. gripped me from beginning to end. 
In a small town in New Jersey a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by police. Traumatised, his friend and fellow vet goes off the grid, causing counsellor Tessa Thompson to worry. This fear intensifies when three of the officers involved in the initial incident are shot, in a way that suggests a sniper , This sets off a manhunt for our missing veteran, and following his dramatic surrender, an equally if not more dramatic trial.
This book really does have it all, a topical social message, fantastic characters, great plot and pacing and more action and drama than should be permitted in one book. From heartbreaking emotional moments to intensely powerful courtroom scenes, reading the book felt like being on a roller coaster, there was never a dull moment, never a wasted page. While the characters are all interesting, my favorite by far was flamboyant show boating lawyer Nathaniel Bodine, who has the skills and knowledge to back up his courtroom theatrics. 
I believe that this is the first in a planned series involving Tessa  Thompson, and I look forward to reading more , but I do hope that she teams up with Bodine again. 
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.
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