As trial lawyers Kelly and Jason battle each other, they discover that the real fight is with unseen forces intent on controlling their trial.
The Justice Game by Randy Singer
This is a legal thriller that is personal for the author. The book opens with a note from the author explaining that 1988 a student at the Christian school, where his wife taught and children attended, a 15-year-old student opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun. He killed a teacher and wounded the assistant principal. The “straw purchase” that allowed the student to obtain the weapon became the central issue of The Justice Game.
In other mysteries the authors draw the adversaries as cartoon heroes and villains. They set up easy to hate figures in order to prove their point. Singer doesn't do this. He purposely addresses both side of the gun control question. Singer states, “My goal is not to make converts...but to fairly present both perspectives and let the reader decide.” To that end he posted video versions of both closing arguments and allowed viewers to vote on the verdict. Singer then used that verdict as his conclusion.
The book opens with the murder of investigative reporter Rachel Crawford. The murder takes place on live television. The gunman is immediately shot by the SWAT team. It turns out that the murderer purchased his rifle illegally through a middleman from a gun store. The store owner goes to prison on a plea deal. Eventually Rachel's husband decides to seek justice from the only party left—The gun manufacturer. He isn't seeking a payout for himself and vows to donate the proceeds.
Jason Noble is the hot-shot young lawyer for the defense. Noble has just lost his job at Justice Inc. for being too good. Noble has been trying parallel cases for shadow juries. The shadow juries, selected to perfectly mimic a real jury, return their verdicts first. This allows Justice Inc. to advice investors whether or not to buy or sell company shares. When Jason proves to be a better lawyer than those in the real cases he looses his job. After establishing his own law firm Justice Inc. recommends Noble as the defense attorney.
For the plaintiff is Kelly Starling. Starling is also a veteran of Justice Inc., now the rising star at a large D.C. law firm. She takes the Crawford case pro bono. She connects to the victim and her fight to help young women caught in the web of human trafficking. She approaches the case with a sincere desire for justice.
Jason Noble and Kelly Starling have something else in common. They are both being blackmailed in an attempt to control the case. They both have something in their pasts that could devastate them personally and professionally. Who is the person pulling the strings and what is he trying to accomplish? The professional ethics of one of the attorneys changes the dynamics of the trial and the blackmail scheme. This causes a violent, desperate reaction.
The Christian aspect of the story is not heavy handed, but is present. In certain questions Singer doesn't attempt to give black and white answers. Neither is it the fluffy, romance many readers think of when they look for “Christian Fiction.” Importantly, The Justice Game is not about religion. It is about loneliness, the difficulty of flawed family relationships, and what the past has to teach us. Without being preachy or self-righteous it has an important message about forgiveness.
A great read for those who enjoy legal thrillers. Release date: June 15, 2009.