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by James Scott Bell
Bethany House, October 2003
304 pages
ISBN: 0764226460

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Retired attorney James Scott Bell is an award-winning author. He has written many thrillers, and has co-authored a handful more with Tracie Peterson. His latest novel, A HIGHER JUSTICE, is the second in a series featuring female attorney Kit Shannon.

The story takes place in Los Angeles in the early 1900s. Filled with history and culture from the times, this engaging novel is unsurpassable in quality and content by any legal novel being published today from more known best-selling authors. A young mother and her son are headed into town. It has been a tough year. Her husband has recently passed away. In an attempt to move forward she decides to purchase new clothing for her son. A terrible accident occurs when a young boy wanders into the street and is killed by a recklessly-driven trolley car.

Kit Shannon decides to wage a legal battle against the trolley company in an attempt to force all trolleys to be retrofitted with safety features. In the years since the trolley came to be, there have been several accidents. Each time the fault was placed on the victim. Shannon's stand: This has got to stop. She believes the trolley company should be held responsible to the community.

It is no easy battle. The tycoons that own the railroad and trolley will stop at nothing to obtain more power and more money. Shannon's reputation is such that she poses a threat to the continued success and riches of the transit system. Those against her will stop at nothing to get her out of the way of progress.

A local drunk gets into a drinking contest in a local saloon. Things get out of hand. Without remembering what exactly happened, he is arrested for attempted murder. He apparently took a gun from the bartender and fired shots at his competitor. Though no one was killed, or injured, there is a bar full of witnesses to the crime.

When Shannon takes this case, something about it doesn't seem right. Shannon believes that her client might be innocent. Too many of the people involved are on the trolley payroll and Shannon has long ago learned to recognize there is no such thing as coincidence. In order to battle Shannon's defense, the district attorney pits their female lawyer Mrs Price against the infamous Kit Shannon. What ensues is a smart courtroom drama.

A HIGHER JUSTICE is entertaining, fun and intriguing. James Scott Bell writes smoothly. His dialogue sounds right for the times. The etiquette seems appropriate, as well as the way he describes the social standings between men, women and women who are trying to succeed in a man's world. Thankfully James Scott Bell has quite a backlist of books. They should keep me busy through most of the upcoming winter

Reviewed by Phillip Tomasso III, December 2003

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