Monday, July 27, 2009

Review & Giveaway: The Justice Game by Randy Singer

I'm going to end July with three reviews and two giveaways. Perfect ending to a really odd month :-)
You know how much I love a good suspense read. Nowadays, I'm always looking for the books and authors that can make my internal editor turn off and let me lose myself in the story.

Randy Singer has become my favorite author when it comes to true legal thrillers that don't leave you wondering how many pages you'll have to skip because of questionable content. So I was excited to get The Justice Game. Okay, thrilled is a bit more like it.

You may remember when I posted several months ago that Randy was doing a fun experiment with this book. He posted a video for readers to watch and then let us vote for the ending. I have to insert right here, that I voted for the winning side :-) -- though the case was set up in such a way that it was a tough vote. Because of this experiment I wanted to see how he pulled off writing the book in a way that the case ending didn't matter.

Loved, loved, loved, loved this book! My husband beat me to the bookshelf to read it, but once I got it, I couldn't put it down. Singer is a master at drawing characters I care about and putting them into legal situations that pull me in. He's every bit as good as John Grisham if not better! And the twists -- even when I anticipate one, he throws in five more that I don't fully expect. I loved this book! If you like a page-turning legal thriller, buy this book today!

But if you'd like to win a copy, hop over to my interview with Randy, and then answer this question: what's one way that Randy balances the many hats he wears? Leave those comments. This is a book you want to read!

And go all the way to the bottom to see a couple new Q&A with Randy...

316345: The Justice Game The Justice Game
By Randy Singer

Bursting into a television station, the gun-toting target of an investigative report kills a co-anchor. When the gun manufacturer is sued, defense attorney Kelly Starling and prosecutor Jason Noble battle each other in court---but the real conflict lies with unseen forces bent on destroying them both. (The verdict was rendered by an actual reader poll!) 400 pages, softcover from Tyndale.

  1. In your novels, you often address a particular topic. How did you decide to address gun control in The Justice Game?

I like to write about moral issues that have no easy answer. On the issue of gun control, there are some pretty strong emotions on both sides. And people have typically trenched in—spouting off rehearsed arguments rather than trying to understand each other. But when you frame the issue in the context of a story, you can sometimes by-pass the automatic intellectual defenses and speak straight to the heart. I tried to create compelling characters on both sides of the story to help readers sort through the types of honest arguments that people of good faith make and then decide for themselves.

But on a larger scale, the issue of gun control is not really the focus of The Justice Game. The more important issues raised are these: (1) In America, can you “game” the criminal justice system? I have proposed a hypothetical system in The Justice Game that could do just that. (2) Can the main characters in the novel escape their past sins (and secrets) or will they let themselves remain captive to them? I once heard Rick Warren say that courage comes when you have nothing left to hide. That’s a concept I explore in The Justice Game.

  1. As an attorney, you served as lead counsel in a school shooting case in Virginia. What happened and what impact did the case have?

On December 16, 1988, a fifteen-year-old student named Nicholas Elliot took a Cobray semiautomatic handgun to Atlantic Shores Christian School and opened fire. He shot and killed a teacher named Karen Farley and wounded an assistant principal, then burst into a trailer where a Bible class was meeting. When he attempted to open fire on the students huddled in the back corner of the trailer, the gun jammed. The Bible teacher, Hutch Matteson, tackled Elliot and prevented the kind of tragedy that hit Columbine High School in Colorado several years later.

Atlantic Shores was the school where my wife taught. It was the school my kids attended (though they were not there that day).

And when I learned that Elliot had purchased the gun illegally from a gun store in Isle of Wight County through a transaction referred to as a “straw purchase transaction,” I represented the family of Karen Farley in an unprecedented lawsuit against the gun store.

The verdict shocked everyone.

In terms of the impact this real case had on my writing—it made the writing of the book both harder and easier. Harder because we lost a friend in the Atlantic Shores shooting and it was difficult to relive the emotions of the shooting and subsequent case. Easier because authors should write what they know best. I didn’t have to imagine what the feelings of the attorneys would be as they tried this case of national importance on an issue with such raw emotions. I had walked in those shoes. From that perspective, this book might be the most realistic book I’ve written.

  1. You had your readers determine the verdict in the court case at the center of the book. Why did you decide to go this route?

Two reasons. First, I thought it would be fun to create an interactive experience for readers. We put together a fake newscast with snippets of the closing arguments—just enough to inform readers about the case and let them vote. Second, I was trying to be balanced on this issue of gun control. What better way to demonstrate balance than to let the readers decide the verdict? Oh yeah, and third (if it’s not too late to add a third), the book ends up being about much more than just the verdict in the gun case. I knew that the ending would work out fine whichever way the verdict came out.


Carole said...

I remember that interview, Cara, and it wasn't long after you posted it before I read my first Randy Singer novel. Now I want to read them all!

He gave five answers to your question and my favorite two were: 1) Protect some time alone with the tenacity of a mama bear, and 2) Remember that "no" can be a spiritual word. In my busy life, those are two things that I need to learn.

Thank you so much for the giveaway.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Janet K. said...

I think the part about managing your expectations and no being a spiritual word spoke most to me. It took a lot of learning to be able to say more "no"s. My family and I are much better for it.
dandjklein at gmail dot com

Katy Lin :) said...

i wasn't sure if i was supposed to comment here or there, so i did both :)

he has so much good advice for how he juggles all of the "hats" he wears! i liked them all so much that i copied them and i'm gonna print them off! my fave was:

5. Remember that “no” can be a spiritual word. I try to major on the big items and ruthlessly evaluate every request for a piece of my time by asking whether this is the best use of my time or just a good use of my time.

please count me in for the giveaways!


Abi said...

Loved the interview.

Thanks for the giveaway.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Randy Singer said...

Hey Cara, just wanted to stop by and say thanks for taking time to post such a wonderful review of The Justice Game and for going above and beyond by doing the interview as well. It's cool to see folks like Carole who started reading my books after your first post. And everybody seems to be in the same boat as me--learning to say "no" and not feeling guilty about it. In fact, altogether, No, NO, NO, NO!!!!!!!

Blessings to you and your readers! And by the way, I can't wait until we induct YOU into the legal thriller author club:)

Anonymous said...

Sweet! Since the last book I read I was wondering if there were more. Looks to be a good one. So cool he wrote on your blog. Thanks Cara for introducing me to so many different writers and styles.
Teresa W.

Anita Yancey said...

He trys to keep expectations low and then exceed them. This book sounds great. Love to read it. Please enter me. Thanks!


Linda said...

Please include me in this contest. I love Randy Singer's books. Thanks.
newdesertroses at gmail dot com

Janna said...

I have not read a Randy Singer book yet, but you keep telling me I need to :-) Sign me up!


windycindy said...

I like his idea of "Protect some alone time with the tenacity of a
Mama Bear! Time for oneself is to me a basic need.
Many thanks.....Cindi


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