JUDGMENT by Joseph Finder

January 29, 2019

Click book cover to purchase

From the publisher:

New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder returns with an explosive new thriller about a female judge and the one personal misstep that could lead to her–and her family’s–downfall.

It was nothing more than a one-night stand. Juliana Brody, a judge in the Superior Court of Massachusetts, is rumored to be in consideration for the federal circuit, maybe someday the highest court in the land. At a conference in a Chicago hotel, she meets a gentle, vulnerable man and has an unforgettable night with him—something she’d never done before. They part with an explicit understanding that this must never happen again.

But back home in Boston, Juliana realizes that this was no random encounter. The man from Chicago proves to have an integral role in a case she’s presiding over–a sex-discrimination case that’s received national attention. Juliana discovers that she’s been entrapped, her night of infidelity captured on video. Strings are being pulled in high places, a terrifying unfolding conspiracy that will turn her life upside down.  But soon it becomes clear that personal humiliation, even the possible destruction of her career, are the least of her concerns, as her own life and the lives of her family are put in mortal jeopardy.

In the end, turning the tables on her adversaries will require her to be as ruthless as they are.

Wow! This is Finder’s best book so far, and that is saying a lot. I loved this character, Juliana is a working mom with all that goes along with that, has what seems like a pretty good marriage, at least from the outside, and a job that she loves. But there are definitely cracks in the marriage and her little infidelity brings such enormous consequences that the marriage is the least of it. Being a judge has its perks for sure, but the downside is explored here, leaving her ripe for blackmail is an awfully big downside. Juliana is a very strong woman but when her family is threatened, all bets are off.

I read this a few months ago, and it is as fresh in my memory as if I had read it last week. The story is compelling, the characters seem like people I could know. This was a nonstop read for me, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. If you’re a fan of Harlan Coben, Linwood Barclay, suburban and/or legal thrillers in general, you will love this book. Don’t miss it!

1/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

Don’t believe me? Here’s another voice:

Juliana Brody, a judge with the Superior court of Massachusetts, is at a convention in Chicago. She is rumored to be in contention for the Federal court and perhaps in the future the Supreme court. She is a woman that is good at her job and very serious about her reputation, taking great care with decisions rendered and treatment of both defense and prosecution in each case. While at the bar in the hotel she is staying at, she meets a man that attracts her. He is sincere, seemingly honest and in a moment of temporary weakness Juliana enters into a night of pleasure. After the fact both she and the man agree that this can never happen again.

Back home in Boston Juliana is presiding over a case involving a lawsuit by a woman against the company she was working for and one that is receiving national attention. Shortly after the trial begins and like a bolt out of the blue, the man she was with in Chicago appears and seats himself with the defense for the company involved with the litigation. At a later meeting with the man she is shown a video exposing her Chicago indiscretion and is told that it will be made public unless she finds for the company against the woman suing them for wrongful sexual behavior.

Events swiftly become enlarged and Juliana feels trapped by the circumstances not knowing what to do. She is threatened with much more than the damning film and finds that her family is also in the bulls-eye of those that are attempting to influence the verdict. Her desperation brings in possible help from influential friends, a private detective and a blow out fight with her husband. Finally Juliana comes to the realization that in order to fight fire one must use fire. This realization sets up a perfect ending for the book.

Finder is a master craftsman within the literary world and “Judgement” is certainly a prime example of his talent. No, you can’t put the book down before the ending and the only problem with reading Joseph Finder’s books is that after they are read one has to wait for the next one.

JUDGMENT by Joseph Finder. Dutton (January 29, 2019). ISBN: 978-1101985816. 400p.




March 6, 2018

Click to purchase

Nola (named after the city) Brown is a truly damaged yet kick-ass woman; bright, tough beyond belief, and an amazingly talented artist. In fact, she is the youngest artist-in-residence the military has ever had. What that means is she decides where she wants to go and when she gets there she draws anything she wants. It turns out she sees a lot more than most people, and saved many lives because of her eye.

Zig is a mortician at Dover Air Force base who works on fallen soldiers. He considers himself to be an artist, and his work is his life. He got divorced after his young daughter died.

When Nola Brown’s body comes into Dover after a fatal small plane crash, Zig is shocked to discover the woman he’s working on is not Nola. He knew Nola as a child, she was in Girl Scouts with his daughter and saved her life after a can exploded near a campfire. Nola took the shrapnel instead, leaving her ear disfigured but the ears on the woman on Zig’s table are perfect.

Thus begins a twisty, at times violent, roller coaster ride of a thriller. There is a lot of really fascinating information on the death process of fallen soldiers, history about Houdini, his friends and family, and about magic in general. I love how I inevitably learn something from Meltzer’s novels, his research is always impeccable. The story moves back and forth between Nola’s childhood and present day, and that helps keep the pages turning.

The surprises keep coming, the pacing is relentless, and the body count high in this terrific political thriller. (And librarians, the President appointed Librarian of Congress plays a prominent part!) Readers who love strong women protagonists like Lisbeth Salander (Stieg Larsson,) Caitlin Strong (Jon Land,) and even Katniss (Suzanne Collins) will love Nola Brown.

Another terrific read from one of my favorite authors (and one of my favorite people!) Don’t miss it.

3/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE ESCAPE ARTIST by Brad Meltzer. Grand Central Publishing (March 6, 2018). ISBN: 978-1455559527. 434p.