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The Judge's Story Paperback – June 23, 2015
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
About the Author
Mystery author Joyce T. Strand, much like her fictional character, Jillian Hillcrest, served as head of corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder. Rather, she focused on publicizing her companies and their products. She is the author of the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE and the Brynn Bancroft mystery HILLTOP SUNSET. Strand received her Ph.D. from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA She currently lives in Southern California with her two cats, a collection of cow statuary and art, and her muse, the roadrunner.
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Using actual cases as inspiration, author of The Judges Story, Joyce T.Strand, writes characters around real people. The judge in this story, Judge Akers, is one of those type of judges that we need now, honest, fair, and looking out for children.The story takes place in the 1930's California. Judge Akers had been a practicing lawyer before becoming a judge. He is widowed and is very involved in a boys club, loves cars and listening to music.
Clara, a teenaged schoolgirl with a passion for writing, testifies in a trial of a 14 year old boy accused of murder in the robbery of a store where the store owner, Mr.Brant was killed, even though he never pulled the trigger but is still culpable in his involvement. Mr.Brant left behind a wife and children who will now be struggling just to survive. Clara becomes Oscars advocate as she learns more about him and his circumstances.
Oscar Briarly is the boy on trial. Oscar's mother is a drunk, his older brother Tommy is in prison, the father is really a piece of work and the younger brother Frankie has diminished mental capabilities. Oscar has a thirst for knowledge that is remarkable coming from the background he does.
Judge Akers enlists the aid of Clara to try to talk to Oscar in jail to find out who the actual shooter was in the death of Mr.Brant. Once Clara finds out that Oscar would love to read, she starts teaching him while getting to know him and to see if he will tell her who did the shooting. Oscar "is no snitch" so the information that the police and judge want is not going to happen unless Clara can use her persuasive skills to get the information needed.
At the same time there is a string of robberies going on being done by young school boys. These boys are working for someone and it is up to the police to find out who is the ringleader. Judge Akers, Clara and an investigator, Jim, work together to get the culprits. So in an unusual precedence, Judge Akers delays the sentencing of Oscar as long as he can while the investigation goes on.
I was impressed with this story and the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck came to mind probably because of the era, people not able to find work or unable to take care of their families so the young boys are forced to get work where they can and it is usually illegal activities. I found the characters to be engaging, especially Clara and even Oscar. Clara, a young lady who has a passion and skill for writing and Oscar and his thirst for knowledge. In my minds eye, in a continuation of the story, I can see these two becoming great friends, of course after whatever punishment that Oscar may receive due to his part in the robbery and murder.
I enjoyed the author's style of writing, short chapters, enough information about the story and without being boring or having long drawn out characterizations. This is the first book I have read by Joyce Strand events to weave a story that should appeal to everyone.
I received a copy of the book for review and was not monetarily compensated for said review.
At the cusp of the Second World War, the climate of “The Judge’s Story” is rife with tension and a sense of dangerous foreboding. The book’s stoic protagonist, the titular ‘Judge’ is faced with yet another violent case to preside over. The case itself is standard enough: a boy is involved in a robbery that ends in bloodshed. However, the Judge soon discovers that the boy, while indeed involved in the fatalistic events ultimately resulting in the loss of a life, is not being completely forthright. His involvement is not so one sided. Seeing this, the Judge attempts to bring justice to the accused boy whilst maintaining his position as a neutral purveyor of justice.
With the help of supporting characters that assist The Judge in his quest for judicature, Strand has created yet another novel with inherent momentum and relevant subject matter. Inspired by the unpublished memoir of a real California Superior Court Judge, the book arises above your typical legal thriller. Strand takes the time needed to flesh out her characters to make them believable and realistic. The plot itself is succinct and fresh, and does not fall victim to melodrama or the genre’s formulaic tendencies. An indicator of what defines a ‘good book’ is originality and hope, two components that drive “The Judge” forward as both an entertaining read but also as a commentary on the justice system itself.
It will make you think about how you treat and make decisions about the people you come into contact with. She uses the judge thoughts to remind us that not everyone has been taught right from wrong by their peers and follow the only way they know. The novel also tries to show us with the right treatment and lessons and someone to believe in them people can be put on the right path and atone for previous misdemeanours.
In times of the papers reporting bad news this book is a timely reminder that if time is given to help people the problems for the future can be solved. A book that will and can inspire you to do more and will have a positive impact on your life.
I first wrote a review for author Joyce T. Strand just over a year ago for her very first book - On Message, book 1 of the Jillian Hillcrest Mystery series. I became a fan of Ms. Strand with that book.
I love her easy writing style, how situations seem so normal and not at all over-the-top. So relatable. Her books are always a pleasant read even with the backdrop of the murder mystery. Her characters are fully developed and so richly interesting. In fact, I'd love to read more about each one of the main characters of The Judge, especially Clara.
I really enjoyed reading The Judge and highly recommend it to fans of the murder mystery genre.