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I Am Your Judge    by Nele Neuhaus order for
I Am Your Judge
by Nele Neuhaus
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2017 (2016)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Nele Neuhaus writes an outstanding German police procedural/thriller series starring detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein - The Ice Queen preceded this one. In I Am Your Judge, they are up against a horrifying vigilante. This individual does not directly target those he holds responsible. Rather, he kills innocents very close to each individual he seeks revenge against - a mother, husband, wife, son.

Of course, it takes a long time for the police to understand that the dead are simply collateral targets and that motive must be looked for elsewhere. They start to get anonymous obituaries for the victims that hint at why they were chosen. And Karoline, daughter of the second victim, wonders what her father (a respected surgeon) really knows about what happened and she starts digging herself, a dangerous undertaking.

While all this goes on, we see Pia, having to choose between a planned honeymoon with Christoph and a race against time to save more on the kill list of a fanatic. Readers know what she will do, of course, and this time her sister Kim (a forensic psychiatrist) gets involved as well. And Oliver has to choose whether or not to accept a large financial legacy from his mother-in-law.

As the story unfolds, police begin to find links to organ donation, and to a woman declared brain dead, whose family was pressed hard to sign consent forms. Proper procedures were apparently not followed and there's some question as to whether or not the woman might have been saved. Naturally, the police start assessing her family members as possible perps, as well as the possibility of them having hired a hit man.

As always, Nele Neuhaus starts with an unusual premise and delivers a masterfully written police procedural peopled with likeable and interesting characters. Don't miss this series.

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