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Book Review: Justice Wanted: The Kid in the University Stairwell by Marlene Gentilcore

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I was incredibly surprised by Justice Wanted because I was expecting some boring notes and newspaper articles strung together in a haphazard way in an effort to create a story, but what I got was a page-turning mystery that almost demands you join the author as she pursues justice for a family that has encountered so many wrongs.

After a brief intro that sets the stage for the story and a little bit of background on the author that provides insight into why she dedicated a large portion of her life to a family that was nothing but strangers when she first met them, Gentilcore begins leading us down a dark and twisted path filled with numerous mysteries. I’ve read plenty of true crime books, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen justice so conveniently and expertly thwarted. As each new clue surfaces, you won’t be able to resist asking yourself how such a thing could occur.

You will feel the excitement of the feisty reporter who is busting with enthusiasm over the possibilities that are contained within this mystery, and you will still be right by her side as the weary journalist doggedly sticks to the path years later for no other reason than her desire to help this family that seems to have no other place to turn.

I love how the author holds nothing back. Our hero isn’t a perfect and flawless creature that always has the answers. She’s a real person who feels fear and doubt, sometimes using all her strength just to continue a fight that sometimes seems impossible to win. I also like how all the facts, evidence, and clues of the case are laid out for us, allowing the reader to put their detective skills to use in this quest for justice.

My only complaint is how the book ends because the conclusion seems a little rushed, with no sense of finality, but the book still receives five stars because that’s the price of true crime. Unlike fiction, real drama seldom has a conclusion packed with an overwhelming sense of fanfare; real drama just ends. Still, I wish there had been just a little more depth in the last couple of pages.

If you’re a fan of true crime or mystery stories, you need to give Justice Wanted: The Kid in the University Stairwell a try. I guarantee you will never again look at quiet college towns the same way.

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