Book Review: Code of Justice

Title: Code of Justice
Author: Liz Johnson
Publisher’s Synopsis:   “Follow the drugs.”

Her sister’s last words shake FBI agent Heather Sloan to the core. They also convince her that the helicopter crash only Heather survived wasn’t an accident. Sheriff’s deputy Jeremy Latham is assigned the case—he’s the one who can help Heather find the person responsible…once she convinces him they should work together. As they dig for the truth, they learn to trust and care for each other. Will they lose it all when the killer targets Heather? She’s willing to risk her life to find her sister’s killer—but her code of justice could cost her the chance to win Jeremy’s love.

One of the best things about Liz Johnson is how approachable she is.  I “met” Liz when she was one of the publicists for Water Brook with the Blogging for Books program.  When her book, The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn, came out she offered me a signed copy to review.  I snapped up the chance.  After a panicked beginning (it seemed freakishly similar to a book I was writing), I got lost in the story (which really is nothing like mine) and enjoyed it immensely.  Since then, I’ve enjoyed reviewing two others including her newest book, Code of Justice.

Action.  Characterization.  Plot.  Twist.  Every good suspense novel needs these elements or it falls flat.  Liz nails them all in Code of Justice.  The story starts with a bang and, in a sense, ends with one too.  You’ll get a giggle with what I mean after you read the ending.  Ok, now I’m laughing at myself.  I’m such a dork.  Liz Johnson creates characters that feel real– as if you’ve met them in the course of your life.  They have strengths, weaknesses, and usually a faith that reminds you of something you tend to forget.  In Code of Justice, I was reminded that past mistakes can cripple you if you allow it and that single-minded justice is often an excuse for vigilante vengeance.

The plot wasn’t utterly predictable, which was nice.  I did guess “whodunnit” fairly early into the story, but I seem to have a sixth sense about these things.  It’s rare for me to get caught by surprise.  How Ms. Johnson wrote it, however, was brilliantly done.  I’m dying to say why I think so, but then it’d give away the “perp” prematurely.  Suffice it to say, I think she wrote the story brilliantly in that regard.

Alas, as with most books (including my own), there was one thing that bothered me.  It seems that Ms. Johnson’s characters are quickly attracted to one another.  I know that it happens that way sometimes, so I don’t mind it in all books, but it seems to be her “thing” if you will.  I’m sure her fans love it; I just find it a little… convenient.  That seems harsh.  It’s just that every story seems to have two people thrown together who have an almost instant attraction that somehow resolves problems from their past… and often in a matter of days.  It isn’t a huge deal, not really.  I love how her characters don’t slobber all over each other.  Their affection is appropriate and even when intense, doesn’t drag you into a private realm that is awkward.  Like I said, it’s just a little quick and a little convenient that both happen to find their hearts drawn together at about the same time.  Then again, in a book with probably 70,000 words, she doesn’t have a lot of space to draw things out with more variety unless she wants one of them to realize undying love at the last second.  Now that’d be improbable!

So, it’s a minor complaint, I grant you, but you know how I am.  If I don’t like something, I say so.  Do I recommend the book?  Absolutely.  It is a great read, quick in that it is short and holds your attention so you don’t put it down, and it has a solid plot.  And… I’m not giving it away.  That has to say something about it right?  Ok, so it’s signed to me personally and I have quite a collection of her personally signed books growing on my shelves, but that shouldn’t look suspicious.  After all, I’ve had other personally signed books that went in the donate pile nearly as quickly as I read them.  If you like books with suspense but no gore, action, strong characters with human flaws, and a nice little romantic subplot, Liz Johnson’s Code of Justice is an excellent choice.

For more information about Liz Johnson and her growing shelf of great books, visit her WEBSITE!