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A Final Judgment (Five Star First Edition Mystery) Hardcover – September, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite a less than credible plot, Black's third novel (after 2004's Windy City Knights) to feature Chicago kickboxer Ron Shade, has its charms, not least a street-smart, likable hero. Shade, an ex-cop turned PI, reluctantly takes work from his least favorite kind of client, a lawyer, and from the police lieutenant who helped boot him off the force. Lieutenant Bielmaster wants Shade to keep a paroled ex-con away from Bielmaster's daughter, hinting that Shade might get reinstated in the PD in return. Defense attorney Rick Walters recruits Shade's help on a civil wrongful death suit, an attempt to get a measure of justice for a murdered woman whose husband was acquitted, possibly because of a corrupt judge. In his minimal downtime, Shade takes a crack at the world heavyweight kickboxing championship. He faces pretty fierce competition in the ring, but nothing as lethal as the attempts on his life that result from his involvement in the trial. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Black, a police sergeant in Matteson, Illinois, delivers the cadence of cop speech, the virulence of cop politics, and the vagaries of the street as only a cop can. This is the third installment in Black's series about former Chicago cop and current private eye Ron Shade. This time out Shade takes on every cop's nemesis, a crackerjack defense attorney, when an old friend asks Shade to look into a wrongful death suit revolving around the killing of a North Shore woman by her husband, and his subsequent acquittal. And the Chicago Police Department lieutenant who was behind Shade's dismissal from the force asks Shade to look out for his daughter, who is being bothered by a sex offender. Black keeps the action humming, except in the subplot involving Shade's training for the kickboxing championship, which sometimes seems like recycled Robert B. Parker. Still, this is a crisp, fast-moving mystery. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Five Star First Edition Mystery
  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Five Star (ME) (September 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594144265
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594144264
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,449,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael A. Black is the author of 19 books and over 100 short stories and articles. He has a BA in English from Northern Illinois University and a MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. He was a police officer in the south suburbs of Chicago for over thirty years and worked in various capacities in police work including patrol supervisor, SWAT team leader, investigations, and tactical operations.
His Ron Shade series, featuring the Chicago-based kickboxing private eye, has won several awards, as has his police procedural series featuring Frank Leal and Olivia Hart. He has also written two novels with television star Richard Belzer of Law & Order SUV. His hobbies include the martial arts, running, and weight lifting.
In addtion to his own novels, Black is currently writing novels in a highly popular adventure series under another name.

Mike's newest novel is SACRIFICIAL OFFERINGS, the third in the Leal and Hart series. Other recent books include, THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF DOC ATALS (with Ray Lovato), THE HEIST and FREEZE ME, TENDER (think: Frozen Elvis)which are now availble as e-books and trade paperbacks on available in bookstores and on Amazon.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Helen J. Osterman on October 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mike Black has written another fast-paced mystery featuring Ron Shade. His characters are believable; his writing is crisp; the plot moves along at a good pace.

I love the ending where he hints of things to come.

Highly recommended.

Helen Osterman
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Don In Fremont on November 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Three books in, Michael A. Black has an interesting series brewing here. Ron Shade is a world-class-kickboxer and an ex-Chicago-cop-turned PI. In A Final Judgement, he's presented with a case by a lawyer in private practice, something Shade prefers to avoid, since he's averse to their typical clients--traditionally guilty scumbags. But this lawyer is a friend, and Shade feels compelled to help.

Yup, mistake #1. Shade, in short order, realizes he is up against some legendary opposition on the Cook County side of the case, and pretty soon the fan gets very clogged, if you get the drift.

Black has a sparse, no-nonsense style that is refreshing in an age of Parker/Crais wannabees. His first-person style is information-packed and light on punchy metaphor, which services this specific story very well, particularly the very well-drawn action sequences.

As he winds up the story, Black gives us an ending that both inspires and intrigues, which is a neat trick.

If you are a reader that likes to discover new talent and spread the work, consider yourself advised: Michael Black is the real thing. Check it out!
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Format: Hardcover
In Chicago, attorney Rick Walters hires private detective Ron Shade to conduct an investigation in support of a wrongful death lawsuit in Cook County. Rick's clients, parents of deceased Laura Gooding, are suing their former son-in-law Todd, acquitted in a Cook County case, of killing their daughter. Ron, a contender for the heavyweight title of the World Kickboxing Association, looks at the files and cannot see how the husband was acquitted as the evidence stacks up that he killed his wife and there were no mistakes by the cops or the prosecution. The other side has the elite of lawyers Mason Gilbert and the legend of sleuths Big John Flood.

Ron's nemesis Police Lieutenant Bielmaster asks Ron to do him a favor; Ron, who blames Bielmaster for getting him kicked off the police force plans to say no until he sees the cop looking frail as he lies in a hospital bed recovering from bypass surgery. Beilmaster's eighteen years old daughter Grace is Yale bound if they can keep Tim Knop away from her. Three years ago Tim impregnated Grace who gave up the child for adoption and her boyfriend went to jail for sexual abuse of a minor.

Besides wondering if Ron will finally fight for the title as he was injured twice before doing his day job (see A KILLING FROST and WINDY CITY KNIGHTS), fans will enjoy Ron work the two assignments while also training. The story line is fast-paced in and out of the gym as Ron begins to uncover fraud in the judicial system while Rick's two female employees react differently towards him; one seems to hero worship him while the other thinks he is a muscular bum.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"A Final Judgment", the latest Ron Shade novel by Michael Black is a really nice piece of work; of the three Shade novels, this one in my opinion is the best and most accessable. It's quite apparent that Mike Black's writing is growing.

Ron Shade, police officer turned Kickboxing PI is Chicago's version of T.V.'s Jim Rockford or Robert B. Parker's Spenser. In "Judgment" Shade is juggling two seemingly unconnected cases and the short-notice training for a world title kickboxing bout. Black manages to blend the three quite nicely along with a couple of predictable (although still entertaining) twists. "A Final judgment" combines good dialogue with an insiders look at how a police department works and as always insightful comments on what it means to be a fighter and train for a fight. For those that live in Chicago or the greater Chicago area, you'll enjoy Black's detailed description of the of streets and familiar landmarks.

If you enjoy Robert B. Parker or John D. MacDonald all three of the Ron Shade novels will be right up your alley.
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