I hosted this book last year, and it was a good story. Who would have thought it was going to be so absolutely relevant a year later? That the unthinkable (because real life is not supposed to be as out there as a book, right?) became our daily news and we’d have to face all the wrong that’s been brewing for so long? A dust-up for this book is simply right. And, it was so good to see the book is having the recognition it deservers, and catching up with Nicholas was great!
Justice Gone by Nicholas Lombardi released in February last year in the Legal Thriller genre.
An act of police brutality hurls a small town into a turmoil of rage and fear, igniting a relentless witch hunt and ending in the trial of the decade. “When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.
A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.
Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.
Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?”
WINNER OF FIVE AWARDS
2020 INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD
NEW YORK CITY BIG BOOK AWARD 2019
2019 AMERICAN FICTION AWARD
NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCY AWARD – Best Legal Thriller of 2019
SILVER MEDAL WINNER 2019 READERS’ FAVORITES AWARDS
Chosen by Wiki.ezvid.com among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers
“I don’t need to tell you how imperative it is to make contact with Donald.”
Tessa was behind her desk, addressing the three people in front of her: Ed with his long sad face; Casey, looking like a brow-beaten youth; and Penny, her angular features and square glasses contradicting her elfish pixie hair.
Tessa’s eyes were glistening. That was how Casey knew she was emotionally distressed. She was a very emotional woman, one of the first things about her that he had grasped from the start, perhaps too emotional. But in his book, that was more of a positive attribute of her character, rather than a flaw.
He knew as well as she did that Donald Darfield was one of the worse damaged of the vets, and now, having just reached the critical point where he was on the verge of confronting his demons, was extremely fragile.
Tessa leaned forward. “We’ve each tried on our cell phones, multiple times, but he won’t answer, so we’ll need the help of others…the ones in his group, those closest to him. We need to know where he would go. Since he basically lives here in our shelter, I wouldn’t waste time in homeless shelters. It’s been twenty-four hours now, and he may have gone out of town. We need to know where.”
“Yes, we’ll get on it,” Casey assured her.
“As for me, I need to see Jay’s father. His landline’s been disconnected. Anyone know the cell phone number…did Jay leave it with us?”
The despondent shaking of heads and shoulder shrugs gave the answer. Abruptly, Penny popped her head up. “Oh wait. How about his aunt?”
“Marshal’s sister? Good. Get it to me.”
Penny jumped up and exited.
“I’m taking a taxi as soon as we’re through here, which I think is right now.”
N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).
In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.
Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net
His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.
His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.
Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The Story Behind Justice Gone
N. Lombardi Jr
Having written two novels which were both cross-cultural adventure stories, and seeing them flop despite the high quality of writing, I suspected that I was not in tune with today’s readership. I knew I had to write something that would have general appeal to attract book lovers without producing merely trendy pulp fiction. Justice Gone, while still not yet generating impressive sales figures, did at least assert I was on the right track, as it has won five awards and has been chosen by Wiki.ezvid.com among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers
I can’t recall exactly how I came across this story: a homeless man brutally killed by police. What struck me about this incident were several details that warranted noting. For one, the man was Caucasian, and I had already been conditioned by the news media that African-Americans were the chief victims of police actions involving excessive force. Secondly, the unfortunate individual was not a violent thug nor hardened criminal, but a rather frail person whose only offence was that he was an eyesore. Shirtless, with an unkempt beard, his crime was loitering. And the manner in which he died, being pummeled to death, stands notoriously apart from the usual police shootings.
I thought to transform the victim in the novel into an African American, but ultimately decided I should stick closer to the actual story, and not be too exploitive of current events involving police sanctioned racism.
The story also raises the question concerning the nature of justice. Is vigilante-style behavior an answer to our legal system? How does the legal system work? What role do ordinary citizens play, and to what degree is the system politicized?
The incident of excessive force in Justice Gone is not an isolated action, but occurs within the context of local politics and a flawed legal system, where outcomes are determined by the attitudes of people. I feel that a discussion of the violation of civil rights by law enforcement should include these elements, as they may be responsible for any sense of impunity the involved officers may have.
The story brings to light other issues, such as the epidemic of homelssness, and the plight of returning combat veterans suffering from PTSD. In addition, the novel takes a critical look at the legal system: the prosecution, the defense, and the jury.
The novel makes no attempt to beat the reader over the head with moral messages, but tries to present an engrossing story with a cinematic flavor. I hope it accomplished at least that much.
Visit his goodreads page: