2 out of 4 stars
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The main thing that grabbed my attention, and the reason why I chose to review this book, was the cover. I saw a judge's hammer and the flashy title of Jurisdiction Terminated, so I immediately thought that this story was about judges and the juvenile system. I was right, but at the same time, I was wrong. This book is not only about dictating sentences and the court life; it is a story about morality, betrayal, drugs and teens, a corrupted judicial system, and values.
Marty Goldstein loves and hates his job with a passion. He is a Los Angeles County Juvenile Court Judge, and he mostly spends his days listening to troubled teenagers, and their attorneys, trying to justify the kids' criminal actions. Marty hates the boring routine of his job and dealing with people that, in his opinion, are on the way of becoming the scum of society. One day, however, Marty's life gives an exciting and dangerous twist when, suddenly, there is an alarming increase of teens detained for using a particular drug: Methamphetamine, better known as "meth." Also, it seems that these teens, somehow, have access to the drugs in the juvenile halls and probation camps, which are the equivalent of jail for adolescents. Something very odd is going on, and Marty has taken upon himself to solve this case. However, appearances can be deceiving, and what was deemed as a simple "drug trend" can turn out in a deadly conspiracy between law enforcement agencies and powerful drug cartels. Now, Marty's greatest concern is keeping himself alive.
As I mentioned above, the story takes place in Los Angeles, California. The story is narrated in 1st person, so we see the story through Marty's eyes. What I liked the most about this story was the legal terminology. I found it more interesting than the "action" aspect, but that's just me. Although my main area of interest is law enforcement, I did enjoy learning about judges and the judicial world. In the novel, the authors show how the Juvenile Court works and how different it is from the Adult Court. It also shows how the Juvenile, or "Juvie," Court is looked down upon. Judges and attorneys do not take it seriously since, according to them, they do not practice "real law." Although the book covers a lot of terminology and legal processes, the authors make sure to explain what everything means. However, sometimes these explanations seemed a little repetitive.
One thing that I'd like to point out is that the story focused more on the main character's daily life in Juvie Court rather than the action/thriller aspect, which is what the book's blurb mainly describes. I understand that the authors wanted to build up the "action" storyline throughout the different cases Marty encountered. However, there was a lot of build up and not too much action going on. Personally, I did not mind this because, as I said above, I was more interested in the legal aspect of the plot. As for the characters, besides Marty and a few others, they were not remarkable or memorable. Marty was a bit unrealistic and contradictory. One day, he hated his job and anything related to it, and the next day, he wanted to become a vigilante and save everyone. He also happens to be trained in different styles of martial arts and involved in the DEA world through an acquaintance. He always knew what to do, which was very convenient to the story. Personally, I could not feel attached to any character.
Also, I noticed one inconsistency in the novel. First, in the very first page of the book, it is stated that Marty is 45 years old. The story takes place between 2014 and now because Marty referenced the use of the iPhone 6, which came out in the U.S. in 2014. However, he also referenced that he was out of college by the beginning of the 80's. People usually finish college when they are around 21-25 years old. Taking this into consideration, Marty's age should have been higher than stated. This did not really affect the story at all, but it did bother me a little. As for the grammar, I found some errors here and there, mostly run-on sentences; however, they were not very frequent.
Although I enjoyed the book, mostly the legal terminology, I can only give this story a 2 out of 4 stars rating. The inconsistencies, lack of empathy towards the characters, and the convenient plot are more than enough reasons for me not to give this story a full rating. Regardless, I would still recommend this book to those people who are interested in knowing more about America's judicial system.
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