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Justice Rules - 2010 Finalist Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest (A Brian Wylie Novel) Kindle Edition
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What is really remarkable to me is just how tightly woven "Justice Rules" is- I've read best selling authors with plots that take a meandering path but not this one. Everything is related someway and somehow. The setting is very believable and I gotta say Brian's (main character) fear of the woods really made him human. Some crime/mystery authors have a hard time with cop characters because the audience finds them cold or stand offish or just not relatable. Not so Brian - he comes off as a real could-be-your-neighbor guy.
The other thing I loved is that circumstances take Brian, and you as you are after all along for the ride here, to the edge of what someone might do if faced with a tragic and life altering event and a perceived failure of the justice system. I'm sure there are many of folks out there in situations where they have dealt with great tragedy and the system has failed them in some way. How would you handle it if the person who raped/killed your 6 year old got off on a technicality? Could you live with that? What would the grief and depression and emotions due to you over time? Until in that situation you just never know. It is my sincere hope that no one reading this review is, has been, or will be in a similar predicament. The book certainly gives you cause to question just how the justice system works, how far is too far, and is the old saying "an eye for an eye" applicable in 2010?
I feel obligated to point out that there are scenes in here that can get kind of graphic so keep that in mind (it's not horror but it is descriptive and sometimes uncomfortable). They have to be to drive home the point but you should at least know.
I only had a few issues and they were certainly not enough to affect my enjoyment. Brian's relationship with his teen daughter occasionally had a bit of a forced tone to it -- like it wasn't quite natural..but that can also be explained by the fact that he's divorced and dealing with an ex and, of course, she's a teen. You know. That sometimes explains it all right there.
There are also a few editing issues. Nothing that detracts - in fact that is what makes this all the more remarkable to me. Very few new authors really hit it out of the ballpark on the first pitch. Congratulations Mr. White on your home run!
The book is good-- great if you consider its a first book. I don't agree with many of the Amazon reviews that describe the wonderful character development, but I found something better, in my humble opinion anyway... a fresh plot. And Not just a fresh plot idea, but one that is developed really well over the course of the book. Dialog is snappy through the first few chapters, then calms down (but thankfully doesn't disappear) as the story gains complexity (and you've gotta love the enthusiasm of the computer geeks in the FBI computer lab). The writer has a firm handle on using descriptive language to visually pull you in to the story line.
The biggest drawback? As a transplanted Californian myself(from the Bay Area), I understand the main character's culture shock moving from a fast-paced, culturally rich area to a slower-paced one like Spokane; but I found the main character, Brian, to be a bit of a city-boy caricature that got irritating and offensive after awhile. Towards the end of the book, the author finally suggested Brian had an actual (clinical) phobia and did a great job of blending this phobia into the story, but I would have suggested explaining the phobia the beginning of the story. By letting the reader think he was a backwoods idiot, I mentally skipped a lot of the outdoor scenes under the assumption the author was exaggerating a personal prejudice, rather than understanding this was was a phobia instrumental in the plot... An explanation of phobia would have pulled me into the story more (in sympathy) rather than have me discount his actual fear. Maybe something to remember for a second book.
The ending of the book was a bit abrupt. I was able to guess an important sub-plot after just two clues, but I have to say, I'll be in line to buy the second book.
As Brian Wylie digs into this crime, he has to deal with some issues of his own. Aspects of the investigation and some of the violence become very personal. At the same time, there are a number of mysterious disappearances and subsequent deaths which lead Brian to conclude that vigilantes are at work. But who are they, and how are they operating? And how would you act in similar circumstances?
`The first lesson he had learned as a profiler: find out `why' and it will inevitably lead you to the `who'.'
This is a fast-paced story which delivers both a likeable and very human hero in Brian Wylie, and a sharp focus on the impact of violent crime on survivors. What constitutes justice for some victims? This is Mr White's first novel: I hope there will be more.
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