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A Darker Justice Hardcover – January 2, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (January 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553801317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553801316
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Penzler Pick, November 2001: One of the last year's most interesting debuts was Sallie Bissell's In the Forest of Harm, which introduced Mary Crow, an assistant district attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, who is half Cherokee. Crow had some unfinished business in that book. Her mother was murdered and Mary discovered the body, but the murderer was never brought to justice. She also had residual feelings for an old beau, Jonathan Walkingstick, with whom she resumed their on-again, off-again affair.

At the start of A Darker Justice, Mary once again is in Atlanta when she is called away from a friend's wedding to be told that her mentor and friend, Judge Irene Hannah, may be the next target of a vicious killer who is murdering federal judges. When the judge refuses to accept help from the FBI, the feds ask Mary to intercede on their behalf so that they can put agents on her land to protect her. Hannah will have none of this, but does accept Mary's offer to stay with her as a bodyguard. Then, in one brief moment, she is abducted from under Mary's nose. In a race against time, Mary and FBI agent Dan Safer must try to find her before she, too, is killed.

In an equally compelling parallel story, we meet Tommy Cabe and Willett Pierson, who attend Camp Unakawaya in North Carolina. Their life at the camp, which is part military, part orphanage, is hell under the rule of Robert Wurth. The lives of Tommy, Willett, and Wurth will intersect with that of Mary Crow in an explosion of violence when many of Mary's questions about her mother's murder and her relationship with Jonathan will be resolved.

While I was a great fan of her first book, Bissell has written a second that is even better. --Otto Penzler

From Publishers Weekly

For those who missed Bissell's well-received debut thriller, In the Forest of Harm, Bissell briefly sums it up at the beginning of her second offering. Atlanta prosecutor Mary Crow, while at the wedding of her dearest friend, Alexandria McCrimmon, reflects on the horrific events that unfolded 14 months before: "Alex had accompanied Mary on a camping trip in the Nantahalah Forest. The trip had turned bad when Alex had been abducted by a psychopathic trapper. Ultimately she'd been airlifted from the Appalachian forests, half-naked and nearly beaten to death." If that sounds like a bad trip, the goings-on this time are even worse. A powerful, secretive right-wing cabal called FaithAmerica which has its eyes on the U.S. presidency has been using students at Camp Unakawaya, a last-chance military school for teenage boys, to knock off federal judges who veer too far to the left in terms of legislating racial equality. One of the school's students the only one ever to win the coveted Black Feather for total dedication goes too far and messily beheads a female judge, calling undue attention to the previous deaths. The next victim appears to be Mary's friend and mentor, Judge Irene Hannah, but Hannah stubbornly refuses protection, so of course Mary is the only one who can save her. This takes her back into the woods and the arms of her former lover, the enigmatic Jonathan Walkingstick, and finally underground into some dank caverns where truth and justice lie. Bissell's narrative drive should carry readers right along, despite some farfetched aspects to the story.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
The book is tightly plotted and well written.
She can't imagine her life without her friend and mentor.
Roz Levine
They are best read in order - I read the third one first.
An Avid Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Untouchable on October 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is the second Mary Crow book and once again the tough no-nonsense attorney returns to the mountains of North Carolina, where she grew up and straight into a heap of trouble. Like the first book, it casts Mary as an intrepid heroine who is prepared to take on all comers regardless of how prudent her approach might be.
Someone is killing the federal judges of the United States, 11 of them so far. Although the deaths have been set up to look like accidents - apart from the last one, that is, it has become obvious that they're anything but. After the first 11 deaths, the FBI have strong suspicions about who will be the next target and want to provide close protection, but the judge won't hear of it. It just so happens that the judge in question, Judge Irene Hannah, virtually adopted Mary after her mother was killed and has become like a second mother to her. So the FBI ask Mary to step in to try to convince Irene to accept the protection offered. Of course, once Mary Crow becomes involved, she goes the whole hog and winds up providing more assistance than she bargains for.
Before the dramatic conclusion to this story, Mary has reacquainted herself with the serene Upsy-Daisy Ranch, had an uncomfortable reunion with old boyfriend Jonathan Walkingstick - and his new lover Ruth Moon, enjoyed an abrasive relationship with FBI agent Dan Safer, and underestimated the people who turn out to be dangerously ruthless enemies. It's well presented, riveting reading that manages to entertain from the opening chapter.
For those who have read the first book, this becomes a very informative sequel, answering some very important questions regarding Mary's past that were first raised in In The Forest Of Harm. Don't worry if you haven't read In The Forest Of Harm yet, because A Darker Justice sits just as comfortably as a stand-alone thriller as it does part of an on-going series.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on August 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Mary Crow returns for a second outing after her debut "In the Forest of Harm." She is a successful Assistant District Attorney in Atlanta, but has strong ties to her mountain upbringing and Cherokee heritage.
Mary is called in to help persuade her mentor, Federal Judge of the 4th Circuit Court, Irene Hannah, to accept FBI protection. Eleven of the twelve Circuits have had a mysterious death among their judges during the past year. The 4th Circuit is the last one. Judge Hannah has stoutly refused any type of protection.
There are subplots galore in "Darker Justice." Mary's long time lover, Jonathan Walkingstick has a new love interest (much to Mary's dismay) who is a full-blooded Cherokee, a tepid attraction grows between Mary and FBI agent Dan Safer and Judge Hannah herself has a courtly Irish farmer swain. "FaithAmerica," a wealthy televangelistic group has designs on world domination, and there is a "camp" for poor boys right in Irene's backyard run like a Marine boot camp by Soldier of Fortune, Sergeant Robert Wurth.
In the strongest section of the book, two boys, Tommy and Willetts, try to discover the secrets of the draconian Camp Unakayawa to facilitate their grand escape. The hidden cachets in the mountains, the moldering old pile of a once abandoned castle-like building and the interaction between the two boys show Ms. Bissell at her best.
The author keeps a tight rein on her many threads, and leaves no strings dangling. The pace is good as are the characterizations. I had some problems with Judge Hannah who seemed almost too good to be true, and became a mite weary with Mary brooding over her love life. As yet, Ms. Bissell has trouble bringing mature male characters to life, but she has improved in this area since her last novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rochelle Dian on January 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Sallie Bissell knows people; she understands the complexity of personality, and has no inhibition about delving into the darker side of the human mind. In A Darker Justice she has painted a prolific scenario of greed and power counterbalanced by her female protagonist-Mary Crow-who portrays the strength and determination of all women with a purpose. This is the finest psychological thriller I have read in a very long time. If you have not read Bissell, you have not experienced pure exhilaration!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mayfayre VINE VOICE on July 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read Ms. Bissell's first book about assistant DA Mary Crow, "In The Forest of Harm", by chance last year. This year I made sure that I read this sequel. I've definitely put Ms. Bissell on my must-read list.
Mary Crow is an intriguing character. She's obviously a dedicated public servant, yet she is also a product of her upbringing, someone raised out of the urban setting. Her ethnic heritage is mixed and she's still trying to reconcile who she is and who her parents were, but not to the point where introspection become repetitive or boring. She tries to do her best, but even though her forest skills are above average, she's not superwoman and still makes dumb mistakes. This book involved an increasing number of deaths of federal judges, all without apparent rhyme or reason. The FBI knows there is a conspiracy, but they can't pinpoint the origin. The obvious next target is a very stubborn judge, living on a horse-breeding farm, who Mary considers to be almost a surrogate mother. Mary is recruited as a volunteer by the FBI to try to protect her, since the judge will not agree to any other form of protection. The setting is out in the country - at the judge's farm, at an old sanitorium, and in the surrounding woods.
The book is tightly plotted and well written. The evil presented is believable. The characters and their relationship to one another all have depth. If you read the first one, you'll definitely want to read this one. Each Mary Crow novel can be read as a stand-alone book, but I'd recommend reading them in order for maximum enjoyment.
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