Friday 13 September 2019

#BookTour :: Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.

12:00 am 1 Comments

About the Book:
When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.
A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran's counselor, is caught up in the chase.
Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa's patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield's dramatic capture.
Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon


Winner of Three Awards:
2019 American Fiction Award
National Indie Excellency Award - Best Legal Thriller of 2019
Silver Medal Winner 2019 - Readers' Favorites Awards
Chosen by among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers

Reviews for Justice Gone:
The courtroom scenes are wonderfully written...the characters are well described and the author paints a picture of each in the mind of the reader...Strong plot, strong characters and a strong writing style that I really enjoyed. This one is a definite "thumbs-up." Strongly recommend! I look forward to reading additional works by N. Lombardi, Jr.
Kim M Aalaie, Author's Den

One of my favorite suspense novels of the year. It will make you question the legal system.
The Eclectic Review

The courtroom action is excellent, trimmed to the most gripping parts of the trial, with plenty of emotional impact...a fairly realistic portrayal of the way small-town US society works...a fast-moving story with plenty of dramatic moments, and a big twist in the final pages.
Crime Review 

Read an Excerpt:

Next, just as Emily had predicted, came a member of the Crime Scene Investigation Unit from the New Jersey State Patrol; however, she had been wrong about the photos because this was the time that Fiske had been planning to introduce them. They were given to the jury to pass around among themselves, and naturally the shock value was not wasted on them, most of the members displaying expressions of disgust as they looked at the graphic pictures.
The witness, a tall man in his forties with his soft brown
hair parted classically on his left side, and wearing tortoiseshell glasses, confirmed what Cavaluzzi had previously testified to regarding the evidence gathered. The prosecution took a risk by emphasizing the shoe print found in the woods outside Puente’s house, comparing it to the prints they had cast from the combat boots Darfield was wearing when he was captured. For this, the witness was allowed to get out of the witness stand and enter the “well, that empty, sacrosanct space between the bench and the jury, a space that can only be entered with permission.
As you can see, the expert said, pointing to a projected image on a screen next to the court reporters table, “If we compare the casts, were struck by the extraordinary match in patterns. They are no doubt the same type of boot, the standard issue military boots used in the Marines.”
“Thank you, Dr. Robert.”
Dr. Robert put down his pointer on the prosecution’s table and returned to his seat in the witness box.
Bodine stood up, having already made the decision to go into his Stevie Wonder–Ray Charles routine of looking off into odd angles. He started by turning his head toward the upper left, rather than the expected straight ahead, a move that practically assures throwing the witness off-balance, a shady trick Bodine learned early on in his career. “Dr. Robert, do you know exactly the date and approximate time that this shoe print was made?” he asked, looking up at the left corner of the ceiling.
“No, of course not. That’s a ridiculous question.”
Bodine swiveled his head to face straight ahead and raised his eyebrows above his dark sunglasses. “Oh, is it? I thought perhaps it would be important to know when that print was made. Wouldn’t you?”
Dr. Robert remained quiet for a few seconds, regretting his rash reply.Yes, of course.”
Now Bodine aimed his head toward the right corner of the ceiling. You have any means of determining that? Chemical tests?”
“No, not exactly…we rely on…” “Radioactive dating?”
Once again the witness was lockjawed, a tightly shut angry expression on his face. Are you trying to make a mockery of forensics work, Mr. Bodine?”
Now Bodine snapped his head back to face where he knew the witness box was, his black sunglasses focused intently on Dr. Robert. I don’t think you know the rules here. I ask the questions, you answer them. Answer the question!”
“Overruled. Witness will answer.” “No. No such testing exists.”
“What kind of soil was the shoe print found in?” “Clay-type soil.”
I should think it was dry at the time you examined the shoe print, yes?”
“In most places, yes.”
“But it was a good print though, wasn’t it? I mean in terms of depth into the soil and the details of the sole markings?”
Yes, it was an excellent sample.”
“Is clay a good material for holding shoe print samples for a length of time, let’s say, as opposed to sand?”
“Under most circumstances, I would say that is true, clay is an excellent preserver of prints.”
“But, of course, the clay would have to be wet when the print was made, yes?”
Yes, of course.”
“When it’s dry, it’s difficult to leave a good print, is that correct?’
“So, whoever made that print, made it when the ground was wet?
“That’s a fair assumption.”
Emily handed her father a sheet of paper, which Bodine then held up in the air. Your Honor, this is a copy of Defense Exhibit 1, which the State has already received during the discovery phase. I ask permission for the witness to examine it.”
The bailiff came, took the sheet of paper, and handed it over to the witness.
Bodine, now ceasing his blind celebrity pantomime, focused his head right at Dr. Robert. “That is the record of rain days obtained from the New Jersey meteorological department. I’m sure you recall that we had a very bad drought last summer; the record you are looking at shows that the last day it rained before those men were killed was thirty-three days prior. In other words, according to the discussion we just had about wet clay, the print could only have been made about a month before those men were killed. Is that the conclusion that you would reach?”
Dr. Robert squirmed in the witness chair. “Not necessarily. If there was a constant shade it might remain moist.”
“When you say constant, you mean throughout the day, from sunrise to sunset, yes?”
Dr. Robert hesitated for a second, before admitting, Yes.” “Was that the case here?”
“When I examined the print and made the cast, there was some shade, yes.”
And what time of the day was that?” “I have to refer to my notes.”
“Just tell us approximately.” About seven o’clock.”
“That’s nearly sunset for late August, isn’t it?” “I suppose so.”
“So you can’t be sure if there’s any shade there during the heat of the day?”
“Thank you. Now let’s talk about the pattern of the print you found. Do you know the brand name or model of the boots Mr. Darfield was wearing when he was arrested, based on the pattern?”
“Danner USMC, RAT, Hot Weather.” “RAT, rat?”
“Rugged All Terrain. The model is the most common one worn by our men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a unisex boot. He smiled lamely, as if he just made a joke.
Tell me, Dr. Robert, these military boots, are they available in retail stores, say, what they call, Army-Navy shops?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
Gotcha, you silly liar! Are you sure?”
“Objection, Your Honor,Fiske shouted, “the witness has already answered the question.”
“Sorry,Bodine said in mock apology, I just want to be clear on this, and an I don’t think so is not enough. So let me put it in another way. Dr. Robert, are you telling me that I myself, an ordinary person, could not purchase these shoes at a retail outlet, even on the internet?”
I think they would be hard to find.”
Bodine turned and, right on cue, Emily handed him a pair of combat boots, his right hand instinctively receiving them, as if this were a practiced act, but then dropping them to remind the jury of his blindness, which was made more emphatic when Emily went underneath the table to retrieve them and tenderly put them in his wavering hands.
“Dr. Robert, I want you to examine these shoes. Permission to approach the witness.”
“Denied. Hand them to the bailiff.”
The bailiff took the shoes and gave them to Dr. Robert. “Tell me, are these boots similar?”
Dr. Robert took each shoe in turn, examining the soles while doing a lot of squinting. I would say, similar, yes, but not exact.”
“How similar?”
“Objection, Your Honor. He’s asking a vague question that can only have a vague reply, causing the witness to speculate.”
The judge scratched his chin. “Speculate? No, I don’t think so. Overruled. Witness, answer the question.”
Very similar.”
Bodine made a slight turn to face in a direction he intuitively knew was where the judge was perched. Your Honor, if it pleases the court, I would like to admit these as Defense Exhibit
2. I would further request that a cast be made of the soles for comparison with State’s exhibits 2A and B, so that the jury can examine for themselves. The bailiff took the shoes and placed them on the exhibit table.
“Objection! These items should have been disclosed during discovery!”
“My investigator just bought them last evening, Bodine said snidely. “I’m admitting the receipt as well, from Sullivan’s Fish and Game Shop in Scranton, with yesterday’s date recorded.”
Fiske snarled, but said nothing. In his head though, a little voice said, Sneaky bastard, he arranged the purchase weeks ago, with the understanding of picking them up today and asking for the receipt.
“No more questions, Your Honor.” “Witness, you are excused.”
Dr. Robert got out of the witness box, crossed the well, opened the little gate of the bar, and exited the courtroom with a briskness that displayed his foul mood.
The judge addressed the courtroom. “I’m going to order a recess for lunch. Court adjourns until one o’clock. He banged his gavel and everyone made a move to leave.

About the Author:
N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).
In 1997, while visiting Lao People's Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.
Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc.
His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.
His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.
Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Follow the Author:
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