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Publisher's Summary

After a drug cartel abducts his sister, a Kansas judge puts everything on the line to find her. Judge Benjamin Joel catches a death penalty case involving a local drug dealer with ties to a Mexican cartel. When his sister is abducted three days before the trial, Ben is told what he must do to save her - cut the defendant loose utilizing a seldom-used judicial tool known as a judgment of acquittal. A call to law enforcement would expose a conflict of interest that would disqualify him from the case and get his sister killed, so Ben plunges into the trial of his life by day, and the dark underworld of the drug trade by night, with the aid of only a few trusted allies.

©2019 William Mott (P)2021 William Mott

Critic Reviews

"A fast-paced and exciting work of crime fiction." (Kirkus Reviews)

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  • Sharbear
  • 01-22-22

A page-turner for your ears!

It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a legal crime thriller as much as Justice Denied. The story, told from the perspective of an honourable judge who finds himself compromised and having to make difficult choices, is fast paced and keeps you really engaged. It’s clean that it is written who actually understands the justice system and legal procedure, without getting too heavily bogged down in it.

While it’s a pretty heavy story involving kidnapping, murder, corruption and drug cartels, the richness of the inner-monologue of the protagonist is what really makes the book stand. The author’s descriptive writing style enables the listener to see and understand the various characters in the book. The dialogue is often witty, and some of the protagonist’s observations actually made me laugh aloud (which my partner found slightly annoying since I was listening to it with my AirPods while making dinner).

Different characters are read by different people and that variety helps the listener keep track of who is who. The cartel’s lawyer, McMaster, sounds pretty legit-like a shrewd old lawyer with a bag full of tricks and a scotch always at the ready. The bail bondsman, Cornejo, comes across as a gentle giant and loyal friend.

The main narrator’s voice, however, is the most appealing which is good, since he not surprisingly does most of the talking. It is so nice to listen to and is exactly what you would expect in a younger small town Kansas judge -folksy, thoughtful and matter-of-fact.

My partner commented that the reader had a really “listenable” voice and is ready to give Verdict Denied a listen now, having heard bits and pieces and my kitchen chuckles.

I’m eager to know what is next for Joel and hope he features it whatever Ruhl is working on next, as this story is definitely worthy of a series!