Today on my blog I have a guest post from Nicholas Lombardi, author of JUSTICE GONE. I’ll tell you a bit about the author, and his book and then grab a cuppa and enjoy!
About The Author
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.
Justice Gone, a mystery/legal thriller which publishes February 22, 2019, touches upon many topical, controversial issues in today’s society as well as being a thrilling and engaging read. The story encapsulates current social issues: police brutality, homelessness, the plight of returning war veterans, the frenzy of the press, and the mechanics of the US judicial system.
“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?î
Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr. Tessa Thorpe.
Elmore Leonard, an Author Apart
Elmore Leonard was an author who started out writing westerns until that genre became all but extinct, and that’s when he turned to crime – in his novels that is. Forty novels in 5 decades, Leonard’s legacy of twisted plots and equally twisted characters still endures. One notable feature is that most of his later novels did not feature law enforcement officers as main characters, truly unique among crime writers. (an exception that stands out is Raylan Givens, created in 1993, the US marshal in the TV show Justified, though one could argue he was a holdover from Leonard’s western days). Bail bondsmen, process servers, low life criminals, outrageous schemers, and even average Joes and Janes were the norm for the players in his works of fiction.
Twenty-one of his novels, more than 50% of his works, were adapted for film, which must be some kind of record. Stars such as Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert DeNiro, and John Travolta, have played his characters. The reason for Hollywood’s infatuation with Leonard’s stories is not only the unorthodox plots and the colorful figures that populate them, but terse, realistically witty dialogue, easily adapted to film.
Elmore Leonard has been called “the Dickens of Detroit” because of his intimate portraits of people from that city. His ear for dialogue has been praised by writers such as Saul Bellow, Martin Amis, and Stephen King. According to Charles Rzepka of Boston University, Leonard’s mastery of free indirect discourse, a third-person narrative technique that gives the illusion of immediate access to a character’s thoughts, “is unsurpassed in our time, and among the surest of all time, even if we include Jane Austen, Gustave Flaubert, and Hemingway in the mix.”
Wow, that’s quite a mouthful! But I would express this in a simpler way: Leonard’s character development is more of showing, rather than telling. Instead of three pages full of biodata and emotional baggage, traits and sentiments of the characters are revealed by their words and actions, so skillfully presented that we can picture these people in our minds.
He is known for his terseness in general. The fact that Leonard often cited Ernest Hemingway as perhaps his single most important influence may have something to do with this. In his essay “Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing” he said: “My most important rule is one that sums up the ten: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” He also mentioned: “I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.”
Terseness was not the only hallmark of Leonard’s style of dialogue. Jokes, slang and verbal tics created a realism to his character’s utterances, and again, revealed aspects of the personality no amount of omniscient prose could capture.
To me, Leonard showed a prodigious literary daring, departing far from the American crime franchise he had established by experimenting in outlandish plots and characters including those of Cuba Libre (2001), a historical novel set during the Cuban wars of independence, and Pagan Babies (2000), a dark story featuring a missionary priest in Rwanda.
Elmore Leonard may have expired in 2013, but his novels will persist for decades more, as his literary legacy will be relived through his books and the films made from them.
Thanks so much, Nicholas for this interesting guest post and for joining me on my blog today! Justice Gone is out now, #bookjunkies!