Tag: Legal Thriller

Book Review: The Girl in Cell 49B by Dorian Box

The Girl in Cell 49B
Series: Emily Calby series #2
Author: Dorian Box

Published: March 1, 2021
354 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 20-28, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Emily Calby disappeared at age twelve, the only survivor of a notorious home invasion. Three years after her terrifying odyssey in The Hiding Girl, she’s safe, living in anonymity with her mentor, ex-gang member Lucas Jackson—before life blows up again on her Sweet Sixteen birthday. Arrested for carrying her birthday gift—an illegal handgun from Lucas—a fingerprint scan shows her to be the missing Calby girl and worse: she’s wanted for murder in another state.

Extradited to a corrupt juvenile prison, Emily struggles to adjust to a new code of survival while battling a vindictive prosecutor willing to resort to any means to convict her. As The Law thwarts her every move, she begins to appreciate its awesome power. She discovers a hidden prison law library and buries herself in the books, casting her destiny.

As she fights for her life in court, the dark secrets behind the prison walls close in. Her cellmate, a spookily prescient drug addict, is in grave danger. So is her first love, a gentle boy sentenced to life without parole. Emily’s desperate to help them, but how can she, when her explosive trial brings one new disaster after another? A legal thriller like no other.

Jessica’s Review:

Three years after The Hiding Girl ended, we pick back up with Emily (aka Alice) on her sixteenth birthday.  This day is far from the “sweet sixteen” like most girls have.  It is another day where her whole life changes: She is arrested and also finds out she is wanted for murder.  She is then put in a corrupt for-profit juvenile prison. 

Pochachant prison is our main setting with the courtroom second for Emily’s court case.  We see what life is like for Emily at Pochachant as she has to adjust to ‘life on the inside’ dealing with the other detainees (not inmates as they are juveniles) and corrupt correctional officers while also ‘working’ for .17 an hour in the library. There are also boys at the prison, and the genders are only mixed when they are taking GED classes where Emily meets a boy that becomes special to her.

It is a tough life and Pochachant is one of the toughest prisons for juveniles.  And then Emily also has to deal with a district attorney who seems to have a personal vendetta against her. 

As with The Hiding Girl it just seemed like Box just likes to put our heroine Emily against so many obstacles against her.  We get several twists and unexpected angles, some of them just seemed just a little too far fetched for me, which was the reasoning of the four-star rating.  I also missed Lucas!

49B  is not light on the violence and corruption of the inside of the prison, so same as with The Hiding Girl, this novel might not be for everyone. We do get a conclusion at the end of this novel, but this reader is ready for more! 

This is the second in the Emily Calby series and Box is currently working on book three.  At this point I am so invested in Emily, I must know what happens with her next! The Girl in Cell 49B could be read as a standalone as her past is mentioned, but I do not recommend it!  You MUST read The Hiding Girl to get Emily’s full story with what happened to change the course of her life into what it became.

The Girl in Cell 49B is highly recommended reading after The Hiding Girl!  I am ready to see what happens next! 

I received an electronic copy from the publisher via Bookish First.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Contempt by Michael Cordell

Author:  Michael Cordell
 July 27, 2020
202 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 28- December 8, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 4.5 stars     

Book Description:

Lawyer Thane Banning has just been released from prison after serving five years for a murder he didn’t commit.

A free man due only to a legal technicality, Thane must clear his name, repair his fragile marriage, and rebuild the life he once cherished. But his efforts are complicated by death threats from the father of his alleged victim and the tidal wave of public outrage at his release.

As Thane begins to find footing in the free world, a former fellow inmate is accused of murder by the same DA who put Thane behind bars. The inmate reaches out to Thane, who is unable to resist the desperate plea for help. He takes the case, thereby pitting himself against the ruthless adversary who stole five years of his life. And this adversary has a grudge to settle.

But prison has taught Thane a thing or two about survival, and the last time he played by the rules, he landed on death row. This time he’s staking it all – his marriage, his reputation, and even his life – on the outcome of the impending case. Thane is determined to do whatever it takes to uncover the truth, especially when startling links to his own conviction rise to the surface. But will he uncover the truth in time?

Jessica’s Review:

This is my first novel by Cordell and I really enjoyed it!  Thane Banning is a real estate lawyer who served five years on death row for a murder he did not commit, and he gets released on a technicality. Once he is out he is dealing with many things: People believing he got away with murder, his marriage and rebuilding his life, and the father of his supposed victim seeking retribution.  While reading the novel, it really felt like things a person would be living with in this type of situation.  I did want to see more of Thane and his wife dealing with their marriage. 

Then Thane has an inmate contact him who he was in prison with.  This inmate is also facing murder charges from the same DA who put Thane on death row.  Remember, Thane is a real estate lawyer, not a criminal defense lawyer, but he takes the case. Because of this you have to suspend your believability and go along for the ride.

I really enjoyed this novel, a lot of it was that Thane was likeable. I also wanted to see what was going to happen in this case, and it ends up going in directions I never expected.  I hope that Cordell writes future novels with Thane starring.  This is a shorter novel at just over 200 pages and it is very fast-paced. You can tell that Cordell is a screenwriter, this novel would make a very good movie or limited series. If it stayed close to the novel, I would definitely be watching it.

Many thanks to the publisher TCK Publishing for sending me a copy to read and review.

TCK Publishing Website
Michael Cordell Website

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Book Spotlight: Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr

Today I am bringing you a book spotlight for the novel Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.  Justice Gone has recently won it’s fifth award: The Independent Press Award. Well Done!!!

Book Description:

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?”


Chosen by Wiki.ezvid.com among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers

What Others are Saying about Justice Gone:

The courtroom scenes are wonderfully written…the characters are well described and the author paints a picture of each in the mind of the reader…Strong plot, strong characters and a strong writing style that I really enjoyed. This one is a definite “thumbs-up.” Strongly recommend! I look forward to reading additional works by N. Lombardi, Jr.
-Kim M Aalaie, Author’s Den

One of my favorite suspense novels of the year. It will make you question the legal system.
-The Eclectic Review

The courtroom action is excellent, trimmed to the most gripping parts of the trial, with plenty of emotional impact…a fairly realistic portrayal of the way small-town US society works…a fast-moving story with plenty of dramatic moments, and a big twist in the final pages
-Crime Review 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon India
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository

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.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Contact Nick: