2 out of 4 stars
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Knight Justice by JC Ernst is the second book in the Knight Stalkers series. In this book, Jake is haunted by the kidnapping of his friend Sherry, a knight in the secret order of St. John. Jake spends his time pursuing acceptance into this elite secret order while he searches for clues to Sherry's whereabouts. Sherry finds herself trapped and abandoned in a remote cave where she must fight for her life. Carlos, one of the culprits from book one, is apprehended by police and faces trial. As Carlos waits in prison, he hopes for a rescue from the “big man,” a shadowy character that leads the conspiracy behind the series.
While this is the second book in the series, I never felt I had missed anything significant by skipping the first book. I would not call it a stand-alone since events occurred in the first that influence Knight Justice. Still, Ernst does a good job filling in the blanks in a way that seems unlikely to weary a reader that has read the first book.
I enjoyed the adventure and action elements that Ernst liberally sows throughout the book. He also includes plenty of psychological elements which make the reader question what is the reality. For example, some of Shelley's experiences while in solitary confinement in the cave include supernatural elements. The author leaves these events to the reader to decide whether the experiences were real or imagined. Jake also has several moments when the reader must decide whether Jake experienced or dreamed the events.
As I look at the book critically, I found myself disappointed by the lack of depth in many of the secondary characters. Jake's character seemed drawn well, and I credit this to his chapters being written in the first person, which allows greater insight into his motivations. Chapters focused on other characters move to the third person. While the transition between points of view happened well, I felt that many of the other characters seemed more one-dimensional or lacking in motivation. I also felt that the ending seemed to drag. Clearly, the author wanted to tie up the loose ends and lay the groundwork for a third novel. Still, there were areas that I think could be trimmed while still accomplishing these goals.
From a technical standpoint, this book could use a professional edit. The story is done well and does not require much work, but punctuation still needs a good polish. I frequently found rogue commas, and periods often appear where a question mark belongs. Additionally, I found a few instances where the wrong word was used. For instance, the word “drug” gets used when “dragged” is more appropriate.
In the end, I find I must give Knight Justice 2 out of 4 stars. I would have liked to give this a 3-star rating since the story is told well and the pacing keeps readers engaged. With a bit more character development for some of the secondary characters, this might have even reached 4-star territory. Unfortunately, the lack of editing forces me to deduct a star and moves this book into the 2-star territory. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy a good action story with some psychological elements.
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