3 out of 4 stars
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When a local farmer finds the sheriff's niece brutally raped and murdered, all evidence points to the guilt of one man: Eddie Reno. But Reno refuses to speak. The conniving criminal has plans to walk away from the murder charge scot-free but won't enlighten his attorney with the details of his alibi.
Michael Hunter is a talented defense attorney who loves a good puzzle, but Reno's cryptic plotting and antagonistic attitude have lured Hunter into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. As Mike tries to figure out Reno's plans, he finds his friends, family, and future career in jeopardy. Justice must be served, but how far is Hunter willing to go, and what price will he ultimately be willing to pay?
Guardians of Justice is an exciting legal drama by Patrick Riddle. I loved how this novel felt like binge-watching the first season of a new criminal justice series on TV. Riddle brought to life the chaotic atmosphere of working in a law firm through the banter between the veteran and newly hired attorneys. He also depicted the rivalries within the ranks, the secret affairs within the court system, and the behind-the-scenes research required to win cases. I enjoyed watching the newly hired Sybil Waxman and Joe Larsen struggle to find their rhythms as they floundered through their first trials. I also loved the rich details depicting Michael's early work, family history, and work ethic.
Riddle educated me with important information about court rulings and legislation. As he walked me through the trials featured in the novel, I learned the slang and terminology used within the courtroom. I was also impressed with the author's ability to make me adore some characters while completely despising others. As I followed these characters through their cases and office interactions, I was fascinated with the connections made throughout Mike's career and how he could solve problems and deal with unforeseen issues.
At times, I felt I got a little lost among the many character names and events within the plot, but the main storyline focused on Hunter and his role in the Reno trial and kept me coming back for more. I had some mixed feelings about the ending, but I'm eager to find out what sort of trouble Mike will get himself into in book two of the series. I noticed numerous minor proofreading errors and had to reduce my rating by one star. Therefore, I give Guardians of Justice three out of four stars.
I'd highly recommend this book to those who love legal dramas with a bit of romance. There was frequent mild swearing thought the text but no erotic content. Riddle established an opening for a sequel and future endeavors for the talented Michael Hunter with an open-ended but conclusive ending.
Guardians of Justice
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