In Justice, writer Robert Grant again finds himself on the run—this time from shadowy terrorists who seem to have targeted his college professor wife (a note with his wife’s office address was found on the body of a suspected terrorist) as the couple find out when two FBI agents show up at their door. Set against a backdrop of the 2008 elections, the cusp of the Great Recession, and a population in Washington D.C. for whom 9/11 still looms large, the story really takes off when two Supreme Court Justices are killed in an apparent terrorist bombing while Grant and his wife are at their foster daughter’s gymnastics competition several blocks away. Grant finds himself pulled into the investigation and is, in the process, stalked, assaulted, and faced with the “suicide” of a close friend. He also has to deal with more psychological assaults in confronting racism in the light of Obama’s candidacy and his own biracial foster daughter’s conflicts. The plot Grant uncovers in the end threatens the very White House.
The book is a well-written thriller; the stakes are high, the protagonist intelligent and sympathetic, the plotting careful. Still, I didn’t have the edge-of-the-seat moments that a thriller demands to achieve true greatness, through no real fault of the writer. Although the publication date is recent—2013—the events are actually far in the past, in terms of topical material, which is the entire context of the book. The 2008 election is history, and September 11, 2001, is ancient history. Again, this is no real fault of the writer; it’s just the nature of topical material. By the time a book has gone through the entire publication process, its issues are already dated. The book does address, as all good works, universal themes, such as the need to protect one’s family, and I wish more emphasis had been placed there.
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|Mystery, Crime, Thriller