There's an amazing new series on the block and today is the day to learn about it. Justice by Jennifer Harlow is an entertaining and powerful story and you can get my impressions of it when you keep reading. Make sure to fill out the form below for your chance to win some great prizes!
It’s hard being a regular police officer in Galilee Falls, a city with the highest concentration of superheroes and villains in the country. It’s even harder watching your best friend, the man you’re secretly in love with your whole life, planning to marry another woman. Detective Joanna Fallon has to contend with both. When the vilest supervillain in the city’s history, Alkaline, the former crime boss who can shoot acid from his wrists, escapes from the maximum security prison, the whole city is gripped by panic.
Leading the pursuit is Captain Harry O’Hara, Joanna’s boss and secret lover, and the city’s champion superhero Justice, who caught the villain last time, much to Joanna’s chagrin. Before her father was murdered in a mugging twenty years earlier, Joanna worshiped the hero, but when he disappeared and failed to save her father, that adoration turned to contempt for all supers.
After Alkaline attacks too close to home and targets Joanna as his next victim, tough-as-nail Joanna has to contend with her increasing fear while struggling to choose between her life-long crush and her new-found love.
At turns vulnerable and fierce, equally mordant and winsome, Joanna is an earnest yet emotionally damaged heroine, who despite the tough breaks of her childhood sees the good in people and vow to protect her beloved city at all costs. An ass-kicking petite firecracker with no superpowers of her own, she charges after supervillains unflinchingly, never losing her wit even when facing her toughest fight. With a coy blend of whimsy and vivid imagination, she delivers both humor and thrills in an action-packed and edgy blend of comic book cool, fantasy-noir, and bitter-sweet romance.
PrologueThe wolves are at the gate.
I count thirty police officers on my security monitors, including SWAT, all armed to the gills led by him. I always knew this day would come. It has been almost twenty years in the making, but now it’s here…this must have been how Nero felt as he played that fiddle. My Rome is burning. Soon my freedom will be gone and yet I could still manage a tune. First things first.
Waverly, one of my loyal employees these two years, runs into the study. His fear does not inspire confidence. “Sir, what are we supposed to do? The police and—”
“Stop sniveling for one,” I say, taking a sip of my Scotch. I will miss this.
The bullet I put between his eyes stops the rest of that sentence. I don’t have time to answer a million questions. Company’s coming. I down the rest of my drink as I run the electromagnet over my computer. Cleaner than the day I bought it. Must leave things tidy. I’ve already set the timers in the file cabinets. Thirty more seconds before, like Nero, all that remains of my empire is ashes.
The bombs detonate as I walk down the hall, no louder than gunshots but still rocking the walls sprinkling dust on my paintings. I wonder what will happen to my art. Probably sold for victim reparations. The Degas alone will cover the cost of the library we destroyed today. Smith and Rees are waiting in what is left of my living room. Just looking at it, especially what’s left of Bradley under that bloody sheet, I feel embarrassed for myself. I never lose control like that. I don’t know what I was thinking. I suppose I’m paying the price now.
“Sir, where do you want us?” Smith, a five year veteran of my service, asks.
I turn over the couch with a sigh. “Gentlemen, I want to thank you both for your loyal service through the years. You have both been invaluable. I wish things could have gone a different way. I apologize.” I fire a single shot into Smith’s forehead. Poor Rees is too shocked to even draw on me before he meets the same ending. The loose ends are no more. The rest is in the hands of the fates.
The last of my security doors fall, the sound of steel hitting marble echoing through the room. I cross my leg, wipe the speckles of dust off my costume, and put a smile on my face. The bane of my existence, the man I hate, who has consumed my life for years, super-speeds into my living room as if he owns it. And the press calls me arrogant.
“Alkaline,” he says beneath that dark mask.
“Justice,” I say with a nod. We stare at each other for a few seconds, even now locked in battle. “Grace?”
“She’s safe. You can’t hurt her or anyone else ever again.” He pauses for dramatic effect, or to savor his victory. “Will this be easy or hard?”
For a moment, I consider an attack. It always gives me almost orgasmic pleasure when my fist hits his body and he cries out in pain. One last taste for the road? No, I quell this urge. My body has not completely healed from our fight a few hours ago and quite frankly, I need a break. Being the scourge of the city is exhausting. “You may take me to jail now.”
As I’m led out past the frightened police and gawking bystanders, I keep that smile on my face. Not because I’m arrogant, not to save face, because…I may have lost this battle, but the war has just begun.
Then Rome will truly burn.
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MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
As a fan of superhero stories I thought I knew what to expect when reading Justice. Upon completing it though I realized it was so much more than specially-powered individuals duking it out as it took on a more average joe perspective when defining a hero. There were numerous twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat and an immensely likable cast of characters that kept me fully invested in this story's outcome. As the start to a series it's set up an intriguing premise that has me greatly anticipating the next installment.
It's an unending battle between super-powered individuals that keeps the officers of the Galilee Falls police force on their toes. With the escape of a particularly vile super villain it will take every member of the force, along with assistance from superhero Justice, to track down Alkaline before he brings the city to its knees. The lead officer is Joanna whose childhood was one of sadness that left her contemplating suicide on a bridge's ledge. From the darkness she's risen to become a no-nonsense strong-willed woman who's still fighting the feelings she has for the man who saved her on the bridge, billionaire Justin. They worry for each other and have an exceptionally strong friendship that brought a tear to my eyes. Even though Joanna has more than friendly feelings for him she doesn't begrudge the happiness he's found with his upcoming nuptials and keeps a smile on her face to show her support. Even though she's the kind of woman who acts like she doesn't need a man I thoroughly enjoyed the clandestine romance she has with her boss as it brings out a particularly naughty girl side to her that's unexpected given her badass attitude. Her boss is supportive and let's her be who she is, never feeling the need to change her.
The mystery surrounding Alkaline's escape is a cleverly concealed one that was full of twists and turns that kept me guessing until the explosive conclusion. That were a few red herrings before the surprising reveal that actually made me gasp. The reveal led to further heartache in some emotionally intense scenes that were completely unexpected but left me in awe of the author's gutsiness. No one was safe in this story which meant even more tears being shed. The conclusion was particularly gut-wrenching and completely upended the story's perceived theme. Ultimately this story is about the strength of the everyday person in triumphing over evil. True justice is never simple or straight-forward and there are no true HEA. This story leaves you in tears but also leaves you with hope and I look forward to the remaining characters rising from the ashes of their losses to fight another day.
From the immensely likable main characters to the equally fleshed-out secondary characters this story had me hooked. There was nothing comical in the battle between those with superpowers as they each displayed human weaknesses throughout the story. The subtle romance between Joanna and her boss was given enough time to make it meaningful but not overshadowed the powerful mystery with its fast-paced action. Ms. Harlow's created unforgettable and larger than life characters and I look forward to revisiting this cleverly created world.
My rating for this is an A.
*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator.
Currently she calls Northern Virginia home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time, she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills.
She is the author of the Amazon Best-Selling F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad and Midnight Magic Series.
She is the author of the Amazon Best-Selling F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad and Midnight Magic Series.
jenniferharlowbooks.com Tales From the Darkside Blog
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