In Justice Perverted a young woman is finally able to marry her betrothed after her aging father dies. Sandy had been caring for the ailing gentleman in New Orleans while Jon, the man she loves, works as an attorney in Texas. No longer responsible for the daily care of her beloved father, Sandy quits her teaching job and relocates to a small Texas town: Richmond.
Apprehensive about being accepted, Sandy quickly endears herself to the staff in her husband’s law office. With their help, she arranges a small but meaningful marriage ceremony. When Jon’s brother cannot attend the hastily arranged wedding, Jon asks his best friend, his lawyer partner, to serve as best man.
Each year in Richmond, selected townsfolk re-enact a historical feud that took place in the town in the years following the Civil War. At that time, a critical battle arose over who would run the town. Now, the tightly scripted, well rehearsed, yearly reenactment involves plenty of action: loud shouts and screams, real rifle shooting, and colorful but fake bloodletting. One side hunts, shoots down, and captures, their enemy. The entire staged affair draws most of the townspeople as spectators.
As a participant during the phony battle, Jon’s lawyer partner actually kills a man. A real steel ball had been stuffed inside his ancient ramrod rifle in addition to the gunpowder and cotton wad. Arrested for outright murder, Jon decides to defend his lawyer friend in Court who insists that someone tampered with his rifle.
Another theme runs through Justice Perverted. The sheriff of Richmond has become famous for drug busts among town teenagers, especially newcomers whom he views as disrespectful foreigners. In fact, his notoriety for quick action in locating and stopping illegal drugs has won him reelection time after time for many years. The popularity of the town’s judge has grown along with the Sheriff’s because of his quick sentencing of any captured or admitted drug offenders.
While checking oil wells on a ranch, a farmer sees suspicious activities taking place in an open field near his own farm. Using photographic binoculars, he takes pictures of men examining bales of hay with a Geiger counter. Later, when he attempts to bring this information to Jon’s law office, his truck is rammed so hard from behind that it fails to negotiate a sharp curve. The truck careens into a deep ditch, flips onto its side, and erupts into flames. The man dies.
What happens to Jon’s law partner convicted of murder? Does the shooting in any way tie in with the drug trade in the town? What had the farmer seen with his binoculars that warranted horrible murder to silence him? Jon and his wife Sandy work together to uncover just how cleverly is Justice Perverted in Richmond, Texas.
The storyline of this book is clever. It is not easy to guess the ending before it is tied together in the last few pages and the epilogue. Although the book is a tale taking place in modern times, it might remind the reader of a novel written many years ago when characters spoke in much longer, wordier, sometimes convoluted sentences. The following might serve as an example.
“I always thought that the system knew something more than I did, like he could have been charged on several other charges, but they just stuck it to him on the one they could make to save the county money or something.”
The characters in the story are developed enough to make them seem genuine. Jon’s wife Sandy starts out as an apprehensive neophyte in her new town, yet she grows into a self-confident detective spouse who works beside her husband solving the story’s mystery. At the beginning, Jon admits a fearful reluctance to take on any criminal cases. Yet, by defending his partner in Court, Jon proves himself adept at criminal law.
For a reader hunting an interesting storyline, Justice Perverted is such a tale.