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I Belong

Review: Justice by Jennifer Harlow

Title: Justice

Author: Jennifer Harlow

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Galilee Falls Trilogy (Book 1)

Publication Date: May 18, 2013

Format: Paperback, 284 Pages

ISBN-10: 0989394417 (Devil on the Left Books)

ISBN-13: 978-0989394413 (Devil on the Left Books)

Reviewed by: Kristie


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.

Quick & Dirty: Dark and action packed urban fantasy superhero tale that will keep you on edge until the story ends.

Opening Sentence: The wolves are at the gate.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Justice is a dark superhero tale about an unpowered detective — Joanna Fallon. Since her father died when she was 12, all Joanna has done is hate on superheroes. Most of all she blames the superhero Justice for not saving her father’s life during a robbery. Right after her father died, Joanna planned to commit suicide but she was saved by a boy named Justin before she could jump off the highest bridge in Galilee Falls. Joanna and Justin quickly became friends, oftentimes they were inseparable.

Joanna decides to become a cop so she can save the people that the superheroes cannot. When Justice begins she is a detective on the elite Priority Homicide squad. Her job is dangerous but when she is called to the superhero maximum security prison to interview an incarcerated inmate, she is the witness of a breakout for another superhero, A. A has the disgusting ability to squirt out acid from his wrists to melt anything and anyone he wants. Joanna begins the manhunt to capture A before he can kill more people, to end his reign of terror once more.

Meanwhile, Joanna is dealing with huge amounts of jealousy. Justin is engaged to an incredibly beautiful doctor, Rebecca and inside it is killing Joanna to be around Justin. She has been in love with him since he saved her life but she has always hidden those feelings. He being the rich kid and she being the loser from the poor part of town, it has always been perceived that she is after his money. She hides her love so that she can prove those people wrong.

Joanna is a character who knows she has flaws, like sleeping with her boss. She even tries to justify it for herself but eventually she doesn’t care anymore. She kind of has a death wish in the fact that she doesn’t care if she puts herself in danger to save those around her. She taunts A into coming after her. She has a dark and funny sense of humor that gets her through her day.

This is one of those novels that isn’t so much predictable, you just know, even though it is oblivious to the main character. Justice was a wonderfully dark, tragic novel with hints of humor. This novel made me laugh and it even made me cry. I absolutely couldn’t put this book down. I couldn’t wait for the interactions between Joanna and Justice. I just knew that she shouldn’t talk to him like that. That she shouldn’t be so carefree with her conversations with a masked man. Although Joanna’s interactions with A were pretty stellar too, there is only so much you can say to a man who is seriously off his rocker. That is what held my rapt attention the most, I had to know how it would play out for Joanna. I still feel like it shouldn’t have ended the way it did, but it had to if Joanna was going to be able to move on with her life.

The world wasn’t overwhelming with superheroes. It was a world that just was, it accepted that there were these individuals and let them get on with their day. Justice really only involved a couple superpowers, others were mentioned, but not in a way that it took over the story. Justice was really about Joanna and how she coped with trying to be a superhero in her own way.

Overall, Justice is a dark, unforgettable novel that just doesn’t stop until the last page. I have already recommended this book and I will absolutely pick up the next book in this series whenever it comes out. I want to know if the next book continues Joanna’s story or if we see someone new in Galilee Falls.

Notable Scene:

A tech rushes in, eyes wide. He looks at me, almost afraid, before turning to Harry. “Sir, we found something.” He glances at me again. “You should all see this.”

We follow him out into the living room where three techs huddle around the now closed front door taking pictures and dusting for prints. They stop and part as we walk up, worry all over their faces. There’s a photo tacked onto the back of the door. It’s from today’s newspaper, the same one I was reading a lifetime ago. The first family of Galilee all smiling. Except for me. My face is burned off by a single drop of acid.

All eyes turn to me to gage my reaction, but I feel nothing. Not anger like Cam or terror like Harry. I’m just numb. Maybe I’m in shock. I’m not cold, which happens to people in shock. I’m more upset by the people watching me. I don’t like it. I walk back to the kitchen.

Galilee Falls Trilogy:

1. Justice

FTC Advisory: Jennifer Harlow graciously provided me with a copy of Justice. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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2 Responses to “Review: Justice by Jennifer Harlow

  1. Freda MansNo Gravatar

    I’m glad you liked it. I have been trying to win a copy ’cause I liked her Freak Academy book. Great review!

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  2. Denise ZNo Gravatar

    Looks like a very promising series. Thank you for sharing with us – I have added to my wishlist :)

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