Today’s blog post is a spotlight feature for a fantastic legal thriller novel that is very relevant to a lot of discussions ongoing at the moment. I actually read and reviewed this particular book back in April 2019 as part of a blog tour shortly after its publication. Since then, the book has gone on to win many awards, with its fifth and latest just recently.
To celebrate the occasion, I spoke to the author about his inspiration to write the book, how it relates to current events and what more we can expect from him. Before that though, here are the details for Justice Gone: –
Justice Gone – Nicholas Lombardi Jr
WINNER OF FIVE AWARDS
- 2020 INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD
- NEW YORK CITY BIG BOOK AWARD 2019
- 2019 AMERICAN FICTION AWARD
- NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCY AWARD – Best Legal Thriller of 2019
- SILVER MEDAL WINNER 2019 READERS’ FAVORITES AWARDS
Chosen by Wiki.ezvid.com among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers
The courtroom scenes are wonderfully written…the characters are well described and the author paints a picture of each in the mind of the reader…Strong plot, strong characters and a strong writing style that I really enjoyed. This one is a definite “thumbs-up.” Strongly recommend! I look forward to reading additional works by N. Lombardi, Jr.
Kim M Aalaie, Author’s Den
One of my favorite suspense novels of the year. It will make you question the legal system.
The Eclectic Review
The courtroom action is excellent, trimmed to the most gripping parts of the trial, with plenty of emotional impact…a fairly realistic portrayal of the way small-town US society works…a fast-moving story with plenty of dramatic moments, and a big twist in the final pages.
An act of police brutality hurls a small town into a turmoil of rage and fear, igniting a relentless witch hunt and ending in the trial of the decade.
“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?”
Purchase Links: –
What led you to writing this novel?
I can’t recall exactly how I came across this story: a homeless man beaten to death by police in a small town in California, but I do remember a series of YouTube videos that documented this event. There was a video recording taken from a closed circuit TV camera at the adjacent bus stop showing the beating, a silent witness to a brutal act. What was more appalling to me than the impending assault, was the exchange of two of the police officers with the soon-to-be victim, a harrowing display of sadistic provocation. The fact that the officers were indicted and brought to trial at all was a precedent – up to that time no police officer had ever been prosecuted for excessive force in the history of Orange County, a tradition that likely imparted a sentiment of immunity on the part of the accused officers when they were partaking in their vicious act.
In addition, videos of street protests decrying such police violence illustrated the collective shock of a small town. The town was Fullerton, California; the man was Kelly Thomas. The year was 2011
This case was the seed from which my novel, Justice Gone, sprouted.
How do you think it could contribute to the currently ongoing discussion?
The incident of excessive force in Justice Gone is not an isolated action, but occurs within the context of local politics and a flawed legal system, where outcomes are determined by the attitudes of people. I feel that a discussion of the violation of civil rights by law enforcement should include these elements, as they may be responsible for any sense of impunity the involved officers may have.
Are there any personal experiences that might have (inadvertently) made their way into the book?
Fortunately, I’ve never had an encounter with a police officer, nor was I ever trapped in the unfeeling machine of the legal system, but then again, I’ve lived most of my life outside of the United States.
In the current call for books by own voices, how do you feel as a white person narrating the viewpoint of an African-American person?
Well, I’ve never attempted to do that. I don’t think it would work. Justice Gone is written in a show, not tell, style of narrative. Essentially, these are the characters, this is what they do, this is what they say, and this is what happens in the story.
The book was published in February 2019. You must have worked on it for a while before then. Anytime during that process, did you expect the turmoil to reach the pitch it has now?
I expected the rage against abusive police actions to be sustained, and suspected that it might grow with time, but I wasn’t certain, because sometimes people forget until the next time it happens.
Stepping back from the book itself, what is your writing process?
Basically to relax and let my mind wander over the story – that’s the way my ideas come, usually with a glass of wine.
Is there anything else you want to convey to your readers?
To the few readers I have, I would like to say that we haven’t seen the last of Nat Bodine, the blind lawyer, nor the last of legal fiction that encompasses social issues. The matter of the death penalty, instances of racial discrimination, legal representation for the mentally disabled, and the sentencing of juveniles to life without parole are among a host of topics that can be explored through fiction. Although tragic, I intend to write about such inequities while infusing a note of hope in the stories.
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. 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