Crime And Justice – Book Review

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Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Call him a coward, call him weak, call him anything you like, but no one truly knows how they’ll react to a life-changing situation until they are facing it for real and their back is up against the wall.”

Yep – this is my kind of book! Crime and Justice was everything I’d hoped it would be, and more – it’s definitely one of my favourite reads of the year! The suspense, solid characters and dark twists made this book such a thrilling ride and I cannot fault any of it! If you love a good crime/thriller, give this one a try. So happy to be on this blog tour and sharing my review with all these other amazing book bloggers!

What if we could no longer trust DNA profiling, the silver bullet of our criminal justice system? For years, we’ve relied on it to solve decades-old crimes, convict the guilty, and liberate the innocent from death row. But what happens to that trust when a crime lab scientist is leaned on to manipulate the evidence or, worse still, lose it altogether?

Ruthless Seattle mayor, Patti Rainsford, announces her candidacy for state governor. She’ll do anything to succeed. When her son is arrested for the rape and assault of a seventeen-year-old girl, Rainsford’s political career is in jeopardy.

Detective Linda Farrell is assigned to investigate. After twelve years working in SPD’s sexual assault unit, her career is drifting, not helped by the single-minded detective’s contempt for police protocol and the pressure of her failing marriage. The high-profile rape case is a rare chance to shine and maybe even get her life back on track. Nothing will stop her seeking justice for the young victim.

With a mountain of personal debt and his wife’s business on a knife-edge, Clark Stanton is facing financial meltdown. Then a stranger offers him a lifeline in return for a favor. As the manager of Seattle’s crime lab, all Clark has to do is make the rape kit evidence against the mayor’s son go away.

The beginning

The solid opening sold this book for me instantly! We’re introduced to Clark, a guy whose debts are starting to become crippling, and his wife, Anna, who is about to lose her high-salary role at her business. The couple are faced with the uncertainty of their future, and the possibility of losing their family home is getting more and more likely. Because of the pair’s bad luck, getting attached to these characters was easy, and the author’s words capture their feelings of self doubt and worry perfectly. I also liked hearing about one particularly strange character, Jeff Peltz, who seemed to know about Clark’s wife and the financial trouble they are in. I wondered what this character would bring to the story as his presence this early on seemed very significant! I instantly started to think about what it was that this guy wanted, and just whether Clark would eventually trust him if it meant his life would take a turn for the better. The book was so exciting so early on and I loved it!

The book alternates points of view exceptionally well – we also learn about the story from Detective Linda Farrell’s point of view. She came across as a fabulously strong character as soon as we read about her, someone who doesn’t take any sh*t from anyone, and potentially the kind of woman we need in this story! As soon as one character, Chace, is accused of rape, the book took such a gripping turn, something that Clark would soon be a vital part of. Chace’s mother, Patti, is running for governor, and if her son gets arrested, her whole career would be in jeopardy. I had an idea how Clark could be dragged into this mess with his own role, and I knew the entire plot would be such an excellent thing to experience. The author has cemented each element of the story together with immaculate care and attention, and it was impossible to find any flaw. I loved everything about this book already, and I found myself flying through page after page!

Peltz seems to play on Clark’s mind after he’s asked to do what he can to destroy a piece of evidence in a rape case. As terrifying as this was, this man slowly seems to mess with Clark’s mind until he has no choice but to consider this offer. How this was delivered in the story was fantastic and just how we get into Clark’s thought processes as he goes back and forth really worked well. I felt so drawn into the story and involved in Clark’s decisions, and I knew we’d be in for an amazing journey with just how great the beginning of the book was turning out to be! The author managed to capture my full attention, and his character creation up to this point has been faultless. I couldn’t wait to see just how he develops these characters as time goes on and how Clark in particular would deal with everything life seems to be throwing at him. Already, the book is completely gripping, with everything you could ever want out of a crime thriller novel.

“Clark wanted to rip Peltz’s head off and kick it down the street. How did this stranger know so much about him and his family?”

Everything from the victim’s statement in the rape case to just how Detective Linda Farrell conducted her interviews had me hanging onto every word, and each scene was perfectly detailed, giving you all the information you need to not only follow the case as it develops, but to also make you wonder just what the right thing to do was. As a reader, I felt torn between wanting Clark and his wife to get their lives back on track, and not wanting Chace to walk free from his crimes (if he did actually commit them!) It was quite the experience! I loved how we’re always kept on our toes – the story continues to be so detailed in every aspect, yet keeping such a great pace throughout. With each chapter that passes, the suspense seems to creep up, and I couldn’t imagine how I’d feel when things really started to heat up with Clark’s task! Would he be able to go through with it, or would the possibility of a guilty conscience hold him back?

The middle

I love it when you think you know where a story is heading, but then it takes such an unpredictable turn that makes you question everything you thought you knew! Things get darker the more we read, and even the thought of just getting rid of some evidence seems very tame at this point. Conversations between characters became more intense and the feeling that things were only going to escalate made me so excited to continue. With more information coming to light about the case, I wasn’t certain what the truth was anymore, and the author had created every detail so well to make us wonder who on earth was being honest. I found Liz, the victim, and her father to be great characters, and I liked hearing about their points of view – it just made you think about everything so much more. I had mixed views on a range of characters here, and I was curious to see how my views on them changed over time.

Where we originally believe the tampering of evidence would only affect Clark and Chace’s lives, we soon realise how wrong we are. Liz and her father, Frank soon suffer, as does Detective Linda Farrell’s sanity. Just how many more people would feel the effects of this rape case, and will the truth ever come out? We witness a suicide, unfathomable mystery and impressive detective work which, when combined together, made some of the most gripping scenes I’ve ever read. Clark is grilled by Detective Linda Farrell about the lab results which certainly don’t add up, and it was looking like everything and everyone was backing Clark into a corner. I was very worried about the outcome for Clark – how much worse could things get for him? I couldn’t fault any of what I’d read so far in this book, and each scene, each piece of description had me desperate for answers. The talent of this author is just sensational!

With a new victim speaking out and accusing Chace of yet another sexual assault, Linda once again changes her approach. The detail in this part of the book was brilliant, each scene of interrogation and the detective’s thought processes were so good to experience, and I was constantly changing my mind about who I thought was innocent. Clark and Anna really suffer after a horrifying scene with Peltz, putting all the family in danger. With Clark feeling as though his life would be forever changed after this ordeal, we see a change in him we never expected. Here, I felt like he’d do whatever he could to get revenge, and it would be exciting to see the lengths he’d go to. There’s so much danger, uncertainty and an unexpected darkness at this point in the story, and each chapter just seemed to get better and better. I was really interested in reading about how Clark deals with his new found feelings and just who may suffer as a result.

“Soon the ache in his heart turned into a deep-rooted desire for revenge.”

There were so many scenes that had me completely lost for words. Characters are thrown into immense danger, some risk their lives to get justice and dark thoughts are uncovered along the way which changes the lives of many characters across the board. The author’s incredible character creation really shines through at this point of the story in particular, and I found myself connecting with a few of them so well. It was easy to understand all the character motives and points of view, which made it really difficult for me to come to a conclusion – I didn’t think a happy ending would be on the cards for every character we’ve met along the way! I just knew the ending of the book would be something spectacular, and I felt there would be a few unexpected surprises for some characters. I loved how deep and involving the story was here, and I just couldn’t stop reading. I don’t think I can praise the middle of this book enough!

The end

We’re soon introduced to two new characters, even so late on in the book, but these two characters were crucial for the ending of the story, and surprisingly, the rounding up of events. I could feel the excitement and suspense mounting once again, and I was so drawn into the book (more than I’d been so far if that was possible!) With another assault reported and some similarities between the other two cases, this had to be the work of the same guy, right?! However, I didn’t think it’d all be so obvious; I expected a turn in events that would shock us to the core! Detective Farrell has even more to put her mind to and she’s determined to bring the right person down for these unforgivable crimes. Clark has the job of determining whether or not there is a DNA match. I felt so nervous and on edge throughout this part of the book, even stressed for Clark and what he has to go through! It was only a matter of time before we got answers…

The author has managed to fit each piece of this nail-biting puzzle together with ease and throughout the book, we’re filled with so many emotions which really make the whole experience so worthwhile. From feeling intense sadness at just how Clark has lost pretty much everything in his life, to the shock and terror we feel as his thought processes change, I felt so overwhelmed with how amazing the author’s talent is. This isn’t just true for Clark’s character, but for so many others in the story too. I loved both Clark and Detective Farrell the most and I was so attached to their stories from beginning to end. With the final chapters of the book getting closer, my theories for how the story ends kept changing, and I loved how I never had a solid prediction for the book’s conclusion. I was desperate for the finale and for a few questions I had along the way to be answered. I could have screamed with excitement with what we learn next!

The author has really outdone himself in the build up to that final chapter, with shocking deaths, uncovered secrets and unclear futures for some of the characters we’ve followed from the very beginning. I loved just how each unexpected scene was delivered to the reader and the description used really makes us feel everything the characters feel! I felt so speechless after we find out certain information and the author keeps up the pace right until the very end. Would everything Clark has done have been worth it? Would he ever be able to forgive himself for the lives he’d changed unintentionally? We’re taken back to some early scenes of the book and it instantly got me excited for the ending of the book – I still had no idea where things would go! Everything described builds up the tension so well and was completely overwhelming at times – I loved it!

“Panic consumed him as, slowly, the truth dawned.”

I was not prepared for the ending – at all! What a full-on series of events to lead to one particular discovery. I can’t even sum up how I feel about it! After I read those final four words of that last chapter, the smile wouldn’t disappear from my face. Just… wow! As well as this unexpected ending, we see a lot of closure on a number of things I was left wondering about, and I feel the author has done everything perfectly. Such a memorable and satisfying ending, but with an immense crime/thriller vibe too that I’m certain anyone reading will love! After being so invested in this story from start to finish, I was so sad to reach the end of this book, but became very excited to learn more about the author’s previous books. If they’re anything like Crime and Justice, I’m sure I’ll fall in love with them as much as I did with this one. This book was absolutely brilliant and I’ll not hesitate to give it the five stars it deserves!

Overall thoughts

This book was completely mind-blowing from beginning to end, and as someone who loves the ultimate twist in a book, I was certainly not disappointed with this one! Everything from the memorable characters to the suspenseful piecing together of information was perfect, each element of the book fell effortlessly into place and captured so many emotions in the process. If you think you have the whole plot worked out, think again! Incredibly clever storytelling through and through and a book that I’ll most definitely be reading again. I look forward to checking out more of the author’s work!

A huge thank you to the author, Martin Bodenham, and Emma at Damp Pebbles for my copy of the book and my place on the blog tour! You can purchase your own copy of Crime and Justice on Amazon, available on Kindle and in paperback. Make sure you’re following the author over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates!

Looking for book reviews?

If you’re in need of reviews for your own book, do get in touch to get on my submissions list! All the information you need is on my book reviews page.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. damppebbles says:

    Thanks for being part of the blog tour xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Em says:

      My pleasure, as always 😊❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  2. martinbodenham says:

    Emily,

    What can I say? This has to be the most comprehensive review of any of my novels. Thank you for your time and for such a considered summary of my latest novel. I’m delighted you enjoyed it so much.

    Best wishes

    Martin

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Em says:

      Thanks so much for the wonderful feedback, Martin! It’s such a great book, looking forward to seeing what you come up with next 😁

      Liked by 2 people

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